Monday, July 09, 2007

The Legislature (or At Least One Committee of the Assembly) Functions

We won’t take a position on New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing proposal, but we do want to applaud some members of the Assembly for their attempt to put the plan through the legislative process.

After holding two public hearings on the subject, Chairman Richard Brodsky and the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions released a report this morning (read it via the New York Times) asserting that the plan would place a disproportionate burden on low income residents of the outer boroughs. As the report indicates, “The Committee has considered written and oral submissions, hearing testimony, independent and academic research, and a wide variety of citizen and organizational opinion.”

This is the type of legislative activity that should be a model for other committees, in both houses of the Legislature. Committees should devote hearings to individual bills, and experts, public officials, and members of the public should be allowed to testify both in support and opposition to them. The testimony, reports, and transcripts of any committee meetings should be posted on the web. Bills should then receive up-or-down votes in committee and should be guaranteed a floor vote.

We hope the Assembly committee's activity is just a hint of what's to come.

(For opposition to the Assembly’s report, see this memo of the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy.)

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