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Republicans file suit to fight ‘outside pay cap’ on legislators

A group of Republican lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly on Friday announced a lawsuit challenging a cap on the amount of money they can earn outside of the Legislature.

The filing of the legal challenge in state Supreme Court is the latest effort to topple a decision by a compensation commission last year that increased the pay for the state’s 214 members of the Legislature as well as the governor, statewide elected officials like the attorney general and comptroller as well the governor’s cabinet.

But the agreement also limited the amount of money lawmakers can earn in the private sector to 15 percent of the public salary pay, effectively making the Legislature a full-time job.

The suit was filed by Sen. Tom O’Mara, a Republican from the Elmira area who is also an attorney.

The pay cap is set to take effect next year and, if it stands, could lead to a wave of resignations from the Legislature or force lawmakers to divest from their outside business interests.

The lawmakers claim in court documents the pay commission’s decision was “invalid, unconstitutional, and unenforceable.”

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