Butler Joins The “Spirit Of ’76” Reform Movement

January 22, 2016

Janice Greishaber-Geddes, mother of Jenna, a murder victim of a violent paroled felon, discusses how “Jenna’s Law” was blocked by Assembly leadership despite having a majority of members sponsoring the measure.

Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R,C-Newport) has joined on as a sponsor of the “Spirit of ’76” legislation, A.8658, which would require bills that receive at least 76 Assembly sponsors and 32 Senate sponsors to be brought to the floor for a vote. Last week, the proposal was offered up as an Assembly rules change, but was voted down by the majority.

“The structure of the Legislature allows leaders to wield a great amount of power over which legislation can come to the floor for a vote. If legislation does not fit the agenda of the majority, despite popular support, it will never see the light of day – this must change,” said Butler. “There has been an outpouring from the public – they want reform, they want a state government that is more democratic, less about partisan politics and more about the people. Passing the Spirit of ’76 legislation will help us get that much closer to the government the people deserve.”

Butler pointed to the efforts to pass “Jenna’s Law,” which is a public safety law addressing parole for violent first-time offenders. The legislation was blocked for many years by then-Speaker Sheldon Silver, who held the bill in committee despite it having more than 130 sponsors out of 150 Assembly members. Spirit of ’76 would have required the bill to come to the floor for a vote.