Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece) spoke out in favor of rules reform on the floor of the Assembly Chamber noting that the legislation would make the state Assembly a more fair and effective governing body. However, most Assembly majority members blocked the reforms by voting against them.
“While some progress has been made toward reforming Albany, we are a long way from being where we need to be,” said Reilich. “The rules reforms that my Assembly minority colleagues and I attempted to pass today would have helped end dysfunction in Albany by changing the way government works. I am deeply disappointed that the Assembly majority does not feel that bringing greater transparency and accountability to government is a priority,” said Reilich.”
Bipartisan good government groups like the Brennan Center, Common Cause New York, the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), and the League of Women Voters have all voiced their support for the reforms.
The Reforms include:
- Requiring a super-majority (2/3) vote for final passage of a bill imposing, continuing, or reviving a tax.
- All standing committee meetings shall be transcribed and made available to the public in the Assembly Public Information Office and on the Assembly’s website. These transcriptions will include majority and minority views.
- Allowing ranking minority members of standing committees to call public hearings.
- Requiring any bill that imposes a mandate on municipalities or that would require additional taxes, to be specifically labeled on the calendar.
- Committee ratios should reflect the ratio of majority to minority members who are currently elected to the house.
- The Speaker shall provide equal funding for the operating costs and staff of a member’s individual office, regardless of the member’s party affiliation or seniority.
Despite support from the public, good government groups and fiery arguments from the Assembly minority, the Assembly majority voted down all of the rules reforms.