Assemblyman Andy Goodell (center, at podium) discusses the role the SOLE Act could play in removing special interests from state government.
“Too often, members on both sides of the aisle have substantive ideas blocked by the Assembly leadership who do not want substantive reform measures being considered,” said Goodell. “Many members on both sides of the aisle routinely bring forward positive ideas that could benefit citizens statewide, but to no avail. Instead, the legislative agenda continues to be dominated by New York City politics.”
Last year, for example, a significant majority of the State Assembly, both Minority and Majority members, supported a bill that would require independent redistricting. This bill, which was drafted by a Majority legislator and was co-sponsored by Assemblyman Goodell, was blocked by the Majority leadership from being considered for a vote on the floor of the Assembly because it would have diminished their political power to gerrymander districts.
The SOLE Act’s basic tenets also have received support from several good government groups, including NYPIRG, Common Cause/NY and the Brennan Center for Justice, which has touted similar reform measures for several years.
"By definition, a participatory democracy demands participation. This is common sense legislation, which will increase participation and promote the common discourse as opposed to a selective process," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.
The prime sponsor of the legislation, Assemblyman Mark Johns (R,C-Webster), a member of the Assembly Governmental Operations Committee said, “The people of New York State have said it over and over again – ‘Albany is broken’ – and I’m making every effort to fix it. Bold ideas are needed to put our great state back on track and put the taxpayers first. This bill would remove crucial reform measures from legislative deadlock and into the light of day so that they can be voted on by the full State Legislature.”
The SOLE Act is currently before the Assembly Committee on Governmental Operations. Assemblyman Goodell is an active member of this committee. Those wishing to further discuss this, or any other state issue, may contact Assemblyman Andy Goodell at his district office at 716-664-4705, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or in person at the Fenton Building, Suite 320, 26 East Second Street, Jamestown, NY 14701.