As you may be aware, the Ethics Reform Act of 2022 was recently enacted as part of the 2022-23 fiscal year state budget, which, among other things, makes significant changes to Executive Law § 94 and replaces JCOPE with the New York State Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. The changes in the law take effect on July 8, 2022. As the transition from JCOPE to the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government moves forward, we will stay in touch with you to keep you apprised of developments as we learn them.
Ethic laws were enacted to prevent both actual and apparent conflicts of interests between your official duties and private interests. All SUNY employees are covered by these laws.
The Commission was created to restore public trust in government by ensuring compliance with the State’s ethics and lobbying laws and regulations. It has jurisdiction over more than 250,000 officers and employees at State agencies and departments, including commissions, boards, State public benefit corporations, public authorities, SUNY, CUNY, and the statutory closely-affiliation corporations; the four statewide elected officials; members of the Legislature and candidates for those offices; employees of the Legislature; certain political party chairpersons; and registered lobbyists and their clients.
The Commission provides information, education, and advice regarding ethics and lobbying laws and promote compliance through audits, investigations, and enforcement proceedings. It also issues formal and informal advisory opinions and promulgates regulations on the applicable laws and the effect on those subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction.
Finally, the Commission promotes transparency by making required disclosures by those under its jurisdiction available to the public. These disclosures include, but are not limited to, annual financial disclosure statements filed by thousands of individuals and activity and expense reports filed by lobbyists and their clients.
At Buffalo State, Jamie Warnes is the Ethics Officer and is responsible for ensuring that both the agency and its personnel comply with the legal obligations. If you have any questions, please contact her for guidance.
Honorarium is a payment or other compensation offered in exchange for a professional service or activity such as delivering a speech, writing, or publishing an article, or participating in any public or private conference, convention, meeting, or similar event that is not part of the employee's official position or duties. An honorarium may include expenses incurred for travel, lodging, and meals related to the service performed. Under Public Officers Law 73 and 74, there are restrictions on the acceptance of an honorarium and there is an Honorarium Approval Request Form. Accounts Payable provides guidance on processing payment.
Honoraria Regulations (19 NYCRR Part 930) note the following exemption:
"A member of the faculty (including an adjunct member of the faculty) at the State University of New York... is exempt from section 930.4 and section 930.5, provided the service performed by such member of the faculty is within the subject matter of his or her official academic discipline." Therefore, prior approval of an honorarium request is not required by academic employees.
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