Tuesday, April 21, 2009

State Senate Considers Some Actual Reform

So the report from the temporary rules committee is finally out and they have some recommendations for New York's dysfunctional Senate. It has been a long time coming, even to ponder changes in the byzantine-like set of rules that governs Albany. So far at least one respected commentator likes it, even if it doesn't completely overhaul the system.

Here's some of the details:

There are two provisions which would make it easier for bill sponsor's to prevent legislation from staying bottled up in a legislative committee. First, any sponsor can make a petition for consideration after a bill has been introduced for 30 days, removing the power of a committee chair to bring a motion to discharge legislation. Additionally, the sponsor can bring a petition to

The sponsor of any bill--same-sex marriage, for example--could move to have it voted out of committee and directly to a floor vote if a supermajority signs the petition.

Additionally, committees will be consolidated and Senators will be limited in how many they can serve on. No "proxy" voting would be allowed, the report recommends.

Other recommendations include the development of a New York version of CSPAN and regional budget hearings.

As Vielkind points out in his post, this bipartisan committee hints at an easy passage of a reform bill. Though I'm trying not to be a cynical bastard, I still wonder how many of the recommendations will be implemented and if there are any specific changes in the language that could possibly weaken what has been proposed today. This is still Albany we are talking about, so until the system actually changes and we see real reform, then I'll believe it.