Assemblyman Michael A. Montesano (R,I,C-Glen Head) joined several concerned colleagues in pushing for critical rules reforms on January 31. These reforms are meant to ensure fairness, transparency, and openness in the new legislative session. The rules changes include efforts to make committee membership more representative of the make up of legislature, publicly displaying committee votes and providing a live video feed of committee meetings.
“Transparency and openness are essential practices of good government,” said Montesano. “The public has a right to know if their tax dollars are being wasted or misused. New York’s current fiscal mess was hatched in these secretive committee meetings. Without immediate reform, more trouble could be on the way.”
The proposed reforms received significant opposition from the Assembly Majority. Currently, committee meetings are held in private with no public record of how people vote on legislation. The rules changes would open the traditionally closed-door meetings to public scrutiny. Other reforms included formalizing the bill number assignment process to cut down on favoritism and ensure fairness for all members. In addition, the changes would also seek to require resolutions to age a minimum of three days on the legislative calendar and make mandatory that a copy of the resolution be placed on each member’s desk prior to voting. This change would give legislators a proper amount of time to review and research a resolution.
“I believe these rules changes are necessary to produce a more transparent, more accountable, and a more effective New York State government,” said Montesano. “The rules changes would prevent good bills which would help Long Island families from being buried in committee at the behest of some Albany special interest. It is time to right the ship. This begins with holding officials accountable for all of their legislative actions. These reforms are a critical step toward good government and fixing our state, and they require the Assembly’s support.”