Monday, February 12, 2007

Bringing legislators and their constituents together

When we advocated for reform of the rules of the Senate and Assembly that would require representatives to actually attend committee meetings and be in their seats for floor votes, members balked. They complained that being forced to be physically present for meetings and votes would prevent them from meeting with constituents to hear their concerns.

One of our responses to this objection was that both chambers should reduce the number and size of their committees. Members would not only have more time for their constituents, but they would also have the chance to develop a depth of knowledge about committee business, instead of just skimming the surface.

An article in Saturday’s Newsday reminded us of another reform that would allow members more time to spend with their constituents: public financing of campaigns.

As Newsday writes:
Beyond reducing the influence of special interests, this system could give a real shot at election to candidates who can’t run under the current dialing-for-dollars system, and it could let incumbents spend more time with constituents, instead of begging endlessly for contributions.
We think if legislators truly want to free up time to hear from the people of New York, they should follow Governor Spitzer’s lead and support public financing.

Categories: General, Campaign Finance, Legislative Rules

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