Sunday, July 30, 2006

Taking Reform to the Candidates

The New York Times has printed an editorial today that we can strongly back. The Times says "when New York State politician [sic] start asking for your vote, it’s time to ask for something in return."

Most importantly, the Times asks, will the candidate asking for your vote get behind:

*an independent redistricting commission?

*the campaign finance proposal supported by, among other groups, the Brennan Center?

*real ethics reform?

The Times also demands to know where state legislators stand on

*reform on rules governing legislative committees, including giving committee leaders control over hiring and firing of staff members and requiring a public hearing if a quarter of the committee members want one?

*the State Senate's recently passed anti-reform measure that makes it impossible for the Senate to make any legislative rules changes without the consent of the Senate Majority Leader and Senate Rule Committee?

*empty seat voting, whereby legislators don't have to be present to vote?

We couldn't have asked these questions better ourselves. The editorial notes that the Times will be asking more questions next week. We've got one:

*Will candidates support ending the stranglehold that Legislative leaders have over bills getting to the floor?

As it presently stands, a bill can be voted out of committee unanimously, and receive support from a majority of legislators and New Yorkers, but still not get to the floor for debate or a vote -- merely because leadership says so.

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