Monday, August 20, 2007

New York City Bar Embraces Legislative Rules Reform

The Brennan Center welcomes the City Bar to the cause of legislative rules reform!

We were very happy to read Christina Daigneault's op-ed in yesterday's Times-Union, in which she urges Governor Spitzer and the legislature to push for substantive legislative rules reform. Ms. Daigneault, who chairs the City Bar's State Affairs Committee, referenced a recent report by that committee entitled "Supporting Legislative Rules Reform: The Fundamentals" Many of these reforms have long been championed by the Brennan Center.

Ms. Daigneault notes that the City Bar report makes the following recommendations:

All proposed legislation should be accompanied by a committee report (more substantive than a bill memo) that contains information such as the purpose of the bill, change to previous law and the estimated cost.

All legislation must be properly presented before committee and considered with an opportunity for amendment.

Three or more members of a committee can petition for a public hearing, which is granted unless voted against by a majority of the committee.

If three or more members of a committee petition for a vote on a bill, it is taken no later than 10 days before the end of the legislative session.

Among other things, the City Bar also seeks mandatory and public conference committees, a more fair allocation of resources to legislators and staff, and reform of the the member item process.

We congratulate the City Bar on taking this important step and look forward to working with them to continue to push for this change.

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