It may sound like something only a policy wonk would worry about, but one of the major problems in New York State government is that the legislature almost never uses conference committees to reconcile differences between bills passed by each of the two houses. The result is that both houses produce solutions to enduring problems, but they never get around to reconciling them and creating a law that actually gets enacted and offers New Yorkers relief.

This past Monday, the Democrat & Chronicle noted that nearly everyone -- Democrats, Republicans, Assemblymembers, Senators and the Governor -- agree that New York's sky high electricity prices are a major hindrance to a healthy New York State economy. Unfortunately, the Senate and Assembly don't have the same solutions to this problem. The upshot? Gridlock. Nothing gets done, and the problem remains.

In other states, and the United States Congress, if both chambers pass bills addressing the same subject, a conference committee will meet to reconcile those differences and attempt to come up with a compromise solution. New Yorkers should ask, why does this happen so rarely in our state?

One of the things we're going to push for on this blog, right through to January '07 (when the Senate and Assembly are required to adopt new legislative rules) is to make sure the Senate and Assembly adopt rules that will make conference committee meetings much more common.