By now every political junkie in New York State has read countless news articles and opinion pieces about how the Senate appears to be leaning more and more toward a Democratic takeover. Today's Daily News takes this opportunity to remind us of Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith's past commitment to changing the way the Senate operates if voters put his party in charge. They write, "Smith must stand by the good-government principles he and his colleagues touted during their long years as an oppressed minority. It will be incumbent on him - as he has promised - to stop running the Senate as a dictatorship and bring small-d democracy to at least half the state Legislature."
We couldn't agree more. Last year, Smith and his minority conference proposed changes to the operating rules of the Senate, many of which the Brennan Center has touted for years, that would strengthen the legislative process and give minority members equal resources and a meaningful say in governing. Smith has since promised to make these proposals a reality in a Democratic-controlled Senate. The Brennan Center takes no sides in the battle over the Senate, but we fully intend to hold Smith and his conference to their reform promises if they take power, especially since changing the Senate's operating rules can be done at any time with only a simple majority of the chamber's vote.