It isn't every week that the editorial boards of the New York Times and the New York Sun issue editorials with similar conclusions. But looking at the state of the State Legislator and whether or not our legislators deserve a pay raise, both papers agree that there is a serious need for reform in the way the legislature operates.
From the Times on Sunday:
[Legislators] have failed to create rules that make the Legislature democratic. Right now, the Assembly and State Senate work more like political dictatorships than the democratic bodies they are supposed to be. The governor, the Assembly speaker and the Senate majority leader should not be the only representatives of this entire state. There should be real committees and some voice for minority party members, just to name two concepts that have atrophied in Albany.
And from the Sun yesterday:
[E]ven most town meetings or small city councils and county boards of supervisors have agendas that are set in advance, with items docketed and noticed to the public and the press in writing well in advance. Often, elsewhere, there are public committee hearings, extended floor debates, and dissenting votes, all of which are rare in Albany. Mr. Pataki may yet pull a rabbit out of the hat this week and announce some final significant accomplishments. We wish him luck . . . But if any deal is announced at the last minute as a fait accompli, it will be diminished by the knowledge that for all Mr. Pataki's accomplishments, opening up government in Albany for the public to see is one area where the secret last-minute negotiations never seem to result in a legislative breakthrough.
They must be on to something. Greater transparency, deliberativeness, accountability: no matter the political ideology, almost all disinterested parties can agree that a better process will lead to better crafted and more thoroughly considered legislation. If you believe in democracy, that has to be a good thing.