Thiele, Assembly Minority Propose “Rules” Reforms

February 13, 2007
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (R,I,C-Sag Harbor), along with the Assembly Minority Conference, today proposed extensive Assembly “Rules” reform proposals that will ensure a more transparent government that is more accountable and open to the public.

“The people of this state want and deserve a state government that is open and fiscally accountable,” said Thiele. “That is why my colleagues in the Assembly Minority Conference and I proposed these extensive reform measures.”

Among the Rules changes:

  • All standing committee meetings shall be transcribed and made available on the Assembly Website and in the Assembly Public Information Office
  • All legislators shall receive equal staff allotments. Currently, the Assembly Majority receives more than twice as much money to pay staff as do their Minority counterparts ($183,373 per Majority member versus $86,092 per Minority member)
  • Require immediate convening of conference committees when bills addressing the same subject have been passed by both chambers
  • Allow ranking minority members of standing committees to call public hearings
  • Committee ratios shall reflect the ratio of majority to minority members that are currently elected to the house
  • Require bills with Home Rule requests from local municipalities be considered in committee at the first meeting that is held after the bill has been in committee for three days. Currently, these types of bills are jammed through at the end of session and are often used as political bargaining chips
  • All bills reported to the legislative floor must be accompanied by a detailed public committee report to help identify the actual legislative intent
  • Allow motions to discharge bills at any time after 20 days have passed since the bill was referred to the committee and until five days before the end of the legislative session
  • Require a fiscal impact statement on all bills
  • Require any bill that imposes a mandate on municipalities to be specifically labeled on the calendar
  • Require a super-majority (2/3) vote for final passage of a bill imposing, continuing or reviving a tax.

“As your assemblyman, I will continue to fight to reform the way government is run in Albany,” added Thiele.