Monday, October 02, 2006

Use Special Session to Reform Rules

This morning, the New York Sun noted that it is possible we will see Governor Pataki use legislative pay raises as a carrot to get the Legislature to meet in special session and possibly pass some of Pataki’s top-priority legislation.

Pay raises would be the governor’s most important bargaining chip in a special session. If lawmakers don’t get Mr. Pataki’s approval for one, that window is closed until at least 2009. Adding to the pressure is the fact that Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the front-runner in the governor’s race, has said he’s against giving lawmakers more money for what is supposed to be a part-time job.

We won't comment on Governor Pataki's legislative agenda, except to say that we think New York would be much better off if he would spend his remaining months in office standing up to the Legislature and demanding they reform their rules and the way they operate. Next week, the Brennan Center will release a report evaluating the Legislature's performance in this last 2005-2006 session.

We'll be posting more about this in the coming days, but here's something that shouldn't come as a shock to anyone: the Legislature is still not nearly as deliberative or transparent as it should be, the public is still locked out of the legislative process, and leadership still has near total control over whether a bill ever gets to the floor for debate or a vote. The result is a State Legislature that still does not function the way it should, or produce legislation that might solve some of the state's greatest problems.

Categories: General, Legislative Rules

No comments: