A bill introduced yesterday by Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr. would require the automatic expulsion of any state lawmakers convicted of certain misdemeanor charges, according to a press release from the senator.
Details of the bill were unveiled just a day before the State Senate was set to debate on whether or not to remove Senator Hiram Monserrate from office after his misdemeanor assault conviction last fall. Monserrate, a democrat from Queens, was convicted after an altercation with girlfriend Karla Giraldo in 2008.
Espada’s bill would apply to future cases and would not stand to affect Monerrate, whose future in the senate is still up in the air at this time.
The legislation would expand upon existing law—the Public Officers Law—which calls for the ejection of lawmakers convicted on felony charges but does not address misdemeanors.
“In the absence of clear, lawfully set standards, the legislature is forced to review such incidents on a case-by-case basis, which poses a slippery legal slope and denies voters their choice,” Espada said in a statement.
The proposed bill would apply to “egregious Class A misdemeanor offenses,” which include: assault in the third degree; sexual misconduct; sexual abuse in the second degree; arson in the fifth degree; aggravated harassment in the second degree involving physical contact; endangering the welfare of a child, and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.