April 16, 2015

Speaker Heastie to Convene Workgroup to Strengthen Assembly Operations and Promote Government Transparency and Public Participation

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today announced that he has appointed an Assembly Majority workgroup to undertake an examination and make recommendations regarding ongoing efforts to improve and strengthen the Assembly's rules, operations, and legislative processes as well as to promote transparency and public participation.

"Since becoming Speaker, I have made a special effort to create issue specific workgroups and a new subcommittee structure that promotes member participation while exploring new ideas to move New York forward," said Heastie. "Members have a lot of great ideas, and the creation of this new workgroup is an opportunity for us to build on the strong processes already in place that promote transparency and accountability."

The Assembly has undertaken several initiatives to modernize operations and improve access to information. This includes an ongoing effort to revamp the Assembly website to make it more interactive and user-friendly, including posting of bill information (including floor roll call), archived video of session, committee hearings and press conferences, as well as floor transcripts. Additionally, the Assembly is continuing the advancement of the paperless chamber project, which will soon result in the use of electronic documents to age bills. Other initiatives include expanding the role of members to ensure a more participatory process in the overall operations of the chamber.

Heastie has appointed Assemblymembers J. Gary Pretlow and Brian Kavanagh to lead the workgroup.

"In the Assembly Majority we strive to conduct the people's work in a manner that is inclusive and representative of all New Yorkers. Our ongoing commitment to accountability reinforces the public's trust in government, ensuring people can more easily understand how their government works for them," said Pretlow.

"This is an exciting opportunity to explore ways to make the legislature more open, accountable, participatory, and effective, under the leadership of Speaker Heastie. I look forward to working with Assemblymember Pretlow and the other appointees, as we consider the wide range of ideas that have been put forward by our colleagues in the legislature and the many New Yorkers with a great interest in how our government works," said Kavanagh.

The members of the workgroup will make recommendations to the Speaker on ways to further strengthen the rules and operations of the House. The following Assembly members will participate in the workgroup: