Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Assembly Minority Proposes 12 Rule Changes
To Reform Legislative Process

Assembly Minority members today proposed 12 Rules changes in an effort to reform the State Assembly's legislative process making it more open, efficient and equitable.

"The voters of New York State are demanding reform. We all like to talk the talk, but it's time to walk the walk," said Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R-C-I, Schenectady, Saratoga.) "These 12 rules changes are moderate common sense reforms that the people of this state deserve. They would undoubtedly improve the legislative process in this house."

The 12 Rules Changes are as follows:

  • The ratio of members within each committee shall be the same ratio as the entire membership of the Assembly. Currently the Majority gets one extra member per committee.

  • Allow the Ranking Minority Members of committees to schedule public hearings of the committees. Current rules allow only the Chairs to do so.

  • Require a committee to consider a bill for which Home-Rule message has been received at its first meeting, three days after filing of the message. Currently, such bills unnecessarily languish in various committees often until the very end of session.

  • Allow "Member's Prerogative which would entitle each member at least one substantive piece of legislation of his or her choosing to be discharged from committee and brought to the floor for a vote on the merits.

  • Specifically identify on the legislative calendar, or a separate "mandate calendar," unfunded mandates on localities and school districts.

  • Require a vote of 2/3 (super-majority) for final passage of any bill which imposes, continues or revives a tax or creates a debt.

  • Require all bills be accompanied by a fiscal impact statement.

  • Amend Motion to Discharge rules to provide that the fact that a standing committee has voted to hold the bill for further action or has voted unfavorably on the bill shall not be a bar to its discharge. Under current rules, when a Motion to Discharge is brought to force a bill out of committee, a motion can be made to simply "hold" the bill, effectively killing the bill.

  • Require that when a motion to hold a bill fails, a motion to report shall be taken immediately.

  • As in Congress, allow for all members to speak on issues of real concern to their constituents after the completion of the orders of the day.

  • Allow the open sponsorship of all bills. Currently, the control of these bills is entirely within the hands of the prime sponsor.

  • Allow prime-sponsors of bills to initiate the conference committee process to resolve differences between similar bills among the Assembly and Senate.

New York State Assembly
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