As our Executive Director Michael Waldman has noted, January 3 was a very good day in New York for attention to issues the Brennan Center cares about. The new Governor introduced important proposals to reform New York’s campaign finance, legislative redistricting and ethics laws.
The one sour note was the decision of both chambers to continue to operate under their old rules -- the same rules that have produced the opaque, unrepresentative body we know too well. Just minutes before the Governor's State of the State, both chambers adopted the same operating rules they used last year. For now.
In the Assembly, just before the vote, Majority Leader Canestrari stated that the Assembly was adopting its old rules with the understanding that reform was an ongoing process and, leaving New Yorkers with some hope, anyway, that they might return to reforming the rules later in the session (as they did in February 2005).
Of more interest to us at the Brennan Center was the action in the Senate -- where the new/old rules were adopted only through January 15. On the 16th, the Senate must adopt new rules again. This should provide reform minded Senators with an opportunity to introduce new and better operating rules for the rest of the session. Who knows, there may be fireworks.
Categories: General, Legislative Rules