This morning’s Journal News featured a story describing outgoing Senator Nick Spano’s final days as a state legislator and reviewing his 28 years of service. We thought this quote from Spano about the recent special session was interesting:It's not surprising we're ending my final active day in the state Capitol with hours and hours of intense negotiations that ultimately led to nowhere.The frustrating, ultimately unsuccessful special session is indicative of how back room dealing is simply not the most efficient, effective way to govern. Instead of shoving through as many bills as possible at the end of June and in special session, the Legislature should have transparent, substantive debate during committee meetings, bill hearings, floor sessions, and conference committees.

In our analysis of major bills passed in 2005 for our latest report, we found that 36% of major bills were passed in the Senate and 40.4% were passed in the Assembly during the last three days of the session or during special session.

There was also very little floor debate on major bills during 2005: 89.9% of major bills were passed in the Senate and 89% were passed in the house without discussion on the chamber floor at all.

Similarly, we found that there were almost no hearings on specific major legislation that passed both houses in 2005, and there were almost no conference committees held to reconcile differences between major bills.

Clearly, we need an open and accountable legislative process, not closed door deal making, to formulate innovative solutions to the serious problems facing New York State.

Categories: General, Legislative Rules