Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Monday, March 5, 2007

Good Gov't Groups Voice Support For Assembly Minority Reforms
But don't sway Assembly Majority members who reject measures to bring greater transparency, accountability and fairness to legislative process

Only hours after "good government" groups - Common Cause New York, the League of Women Voters of New York State and the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) - publicly voiced support for a slew of Assembly Minority government reform proposals (Brennan Center for Justice had previously voiced support), the Assembly Majority voted to defeat the measures.

"The more things change the more they stay the same. This is further affirmation that while the Assembly Majority will give reform a slap on the back from time to time, they really aren't interested in embracing it fully, " said Minority Leader James Tedisco, (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga). "The measures they rejected today were all common sense. They all would have improved the legislative process by bringing greater transparency, accountability and fairness to the process."

The rules change proposals included:

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

  • All legislators shall receive equal resources and 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 25 percent of the members of a standing committee to petition the chair for a public hearing;

  • 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 to be considered in committee within four weeks of introduction. 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 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 statements 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;

  • Require a motion to report a bill immediately after a motion to hold in committee fails;

  • Permit each legislator to have at least one substantive bill discharged from committee and voted on the floor each legislative session;

  • Allow each member to sponsor a bill without first obtaining the consent of the Introducer;

  • Require 24 hours notice before substituting a member of a standing committee;

  • Require that a bill or a resolution sponsored by at least 76 members be discharged from committee;

  • Require three days notice before a resolution can be voted upon on the floor; and

  • Require 24 hours notice of a special committee meeting or of the addition or deletion of an item from a committee agenda.

New York State Assembly
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