No More Midnight Bills - Lalor To Co-sponsor Government Transparency Act

Albany, New York: Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - Fishkill) announced today that he will be co-sponsoring the NYS Government Transparency Act. The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, is a response to Governor Cuomo's repeated abuse of the system to rush bills through the legislature, often in the middle of the night.

"Nothing good happens after midnight in Albany," said Lalor. "There is no need to pass legislation in the dark of night. When legislators are literally hiding the process from the light of day, they are up to no good. Every debate, every bill and every vote needs to see the light of day. This bill will prevent the governor and his friends in the legislature from ramming laws through while New Yorkers sleep."

In the past two years, Cuomo has repeatedly circumvented the constitutional requirement that the legislature wait three days after a bill is drafted before a vote. The governor has abused his ability to issue a “message of necessity" - when an emergency requires the legislature to vote sooner - by stretching the definition of an emergency beyond its limit. The governor has then proceeded to rush significant bills through the legislature in the middle of the night. The proposed law would stop the clock on all legislative proceedings between midnight and 8 a.m. except in the case of genuine emergencies. A two-thirds majority of the legislature would be needed to determine that an emergency existed and that the rule could be waived. The governor's abuse of messages of necessity would also be reined in with a requirement that two-thirds of the legislature agree that an emergency exists.

Lalor continued, "Governor Cuomo has made a habit of rushing major legislation through in the middle of the night. It's a bad habit that often leads to bad laws. The flawed and unconstitutional midnight gun bill is just the most recent example. Last year, bills covering redistricting, casinos, pension reform and teacher evaluation were passed in the cover of darkness. Sunlight is good for government, good for policy, and good for democracy."

"The state constitution mandates that the legislature take three days to review a bill for a reason. Voters and legislators need the chance to read a bill before a vote. Governor Cuomo has set a bad precedent with his abuse of messages of necessity. This legislation will force future governors to respect transparency in government."