Oaks Stands In Support of Rules Reform

February 13, 2007

Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R,C-Macedon) today joined his Assembly Minority Conference in holding a press conference aimed at bringing about substantial Assembly Rules reform which would ensure a more transparent, accountable and fiscally responsible government.

“There has been much talk recently about reforming state government,” said Oaks. “I agree the state is in desperate need of reform and we need to begin by changing many of the archaic rules in the New York State Assembly.”

Among the proposed rules changes to be brought to the Assembly floor for consideration are:

  1. Transcribe all standing committee meetings and make them publicly available on the Assembly’s website
  2. Provide all legislators with equal staff allotments, as done in Congress, to assure constituent service is adequate for all Assembly districts
  3. Require immediate convening of conference committees when bills addressing the same subject have been passed by both the Senate and Assembly. This should expedite negotiations to get important legislation passed into law
  4. Require fiscal impact statements on all bills so that legislators know the impact of passing new legislation on local and statewide taxpayers
  5. Allow ranking minority members of standing committees to call public hearings on important issues
  6. Enable committee ratios to reflect the ratio of majority to minority members that are currently elected to the house
  7. Require any bill that imposes a mandate on municipalities to be specifically labeled on the calendar
  8. Require bills with Home Rule requests from local municipalities to be considered in committee at the first meeting that is held after the bill has been in committee for three days. Currently, these bills are typically rammed through at the end of session and are often used as political bargaining chips.

“By reforming the operations of the state Assembly, through making these rules changes, New York state can begin the road to reform that will ensure that all New Yorkers will have a voice in the Assembly Chamber,” said Oaks. “New Yorkers deserve a government that spends taxpayer dollars in a fiscally responsible way and is accountable to its citizens.”