As we mentioned earlier, Governor Spitzer kicked off his term with an impressive display of work ethics, rousing himself early on New Year’s Day to sign five executive orders before 9 a.m. What brave new world, then, did the rest of the bleary state wake up to?
1. Use of state property — cars, computers, phones — for non-official business is explicitly prohibited. (Clear inspiration: Alan Hevesi.) Nepotism in hiring and contracting is banned. (Possible inspiration: Joseph Bruno.) Almost all gifts are off the table, so to speak. And former state employees can’t lobby their former colleagues for two years after leaving the office.
2. State workers can’t contribute to gubernatorial campaigns or their PACs or appear in ads for state-funded initiatives. (Probable inspiration for the latter: George Pataki.)
3. All state agencies and boards must gear up to start broadcasting their sessions over the Internet. Yesss! (Think of the YouTube-able blooper potential.)
4. Judicial screening committees are established for a number of vacant judgeships.
5. And finally, continuity: This order, which was called “ministerial,” simply prolongs the shelf life of some existing orders from Cuomo and Pataki. So, you know, not everything changes.
(In other, somewhat related news, the New York State minimum wage rose yesterday to $7.15 per hour, and the so-called marriage penalty was eliminated on state income taxes.)