Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Call Your Legislator and Demand Reform!

The next two weeks are critical in our effort to reform the rules of the Assembly and Senate, and we need your help! Call your state legislators and tell them that you support rules reform! (To find your state senator, click here. To find your Assembly member, click here.)

You can tell your legislator about our recommendations or simply express your support for the Brennan Center reforms. Here are the recommendations from our newest report:
  • Strengthen the standing committees so rank-and-file members can force a hearing or vote on specific legislation, even over the objections of the committee chair
  • End leadership’s stranglehold on getting bills to the floor
  • Give the average legislator greater independence from leadership by ending leadership control of their staff and resources
  • Institutionalize conference committees to give more than two individuals power to negotiate compromises from differences in legislation passed by both the Assembly and the Senate
These reforms are crucial to making our legislature into the responsive, accountable, deliberative, accessible, and efficient body all New Yorkers deserve. So call Aunt Sally in Great Neck, Grandpa Jim in Rochester, and Cousin Bobby in Schenectady and tell them to contact their legislators and support legislative rules reform!

Categories: General, Legislative Rules

1 comment:

John O'Neil said...

With every Election Day there is good news and bad news.

Starting with the good news – with virtually no turnover in the state legislative elections your Assemblymember's and Senator's contact information is probably the same.

The bad news is that there is much left for us to do to help our legislators enact the reforms it so desperately needs and time is short. At the beginning of each session, in early January, the Assembly and the Senate vote to enact the rules that will govern their houses for the next two years.

Prior to that the Republicans and Democrats hold private caucus "workshops" where the legislative agenda and rules are discussed and most likely decided before the official opening.

In the most recent Brennan Center report there are four necessary changes that will help our legislature do what it's sent to Albany for: to be a representative, deliberative, accessible, accountable and efficient legislative body.

The changes are: (1) strengthening the committee process, (2) institutionalizing conference committees, and, at the leadership level, (3) ending the Speaker's and Majority Leader's complete control over resources and staff, and (4) ending their ability to block bills from getting to the floor.

Something you can do – Call, write, or send an e-mail to your legislators, starting this Monday, to inform them about your continued concern over the broken process and to insist that they consider the four reforms above in their pre-session caucus meetings.

Some helpful links: