Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Assembly Minority Members Continue Reform Push
Demand Assembly "Rules" changes to bring greater transparency to legislative process

Under current "Rules" governing the Assembly legislative process, all standing committee meetings are conducted without any official public transcript. That is just one of several "archaic" rules that would change under a proposal put forward by the Assembly Minority members Tuesday.

"Rip Van Winkle has been asleep a long time. What many don't know is that his favorite resting spot is the Assembly Chamber. What we are trying to do is make this place inhospitable for old Rip, and the way to do it is to open the curtains and let the light shine through," said Tedisco. "These rules reforms we propose will go a long way toward improving the process. They are common sense reforms. They will bring greater transparency, accountability and fairness to the legislative process, and I defy anyone to argue against any of them."

Among the Rules changes

  • All standing committee meetings shall be transcribed and be made available on the Assembly web-site and in the Assembly Public Information Office;

  • All legislators shall receive equal staff allotments. Currently, Assembly Majority members receive more than twice as much money to pay staff as do their minority counterparts ($183,373 per majority member versus $86,092 per minority member);

  • Requiring immediate convening of conference committees when bills addressing the same subject have been passed by both chambers;

  • Allow ranking minority members of standing committees to call public hearings;

  • Committee ratios shall reflect the ratio of majority to minority members that are currently elected to the house;

  • Require bills with Home Rule requests from local municipalities be considered in committee at the first meeting that is held after the bill has been in committee for three days. Currently these types of bills are jammed through at the end of session and are often used as political bargaining chips;

  • All bills reported to the legislative floor must be accompanied by a detailed public committee report to help identify the actual legislative intent;

  • Allow motions to discharge at any time after 20 days has passed since the bill was referred to the committee and until five days before the end of the legislative session;

  • Require fiscal impact statement on all bills;

  • Require any bill that imposes a mandate on municipalities to be specifically labeled on the calendar;

  • Require a super-majority (2/3) vote for final passage of a bill imposing, continuing or reviving a tax.

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