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The Legislature Under Pressure

May 28, 2010

What does it take to get the New York State Assembly and Senate to work together and pass a meaningful bill? That’s not a riddle with a wise-ass answer. It’s the conundrum of Albany for the last several years. 

The answer is not one thing, but several factors and forces. These include having a motivated Assembly Speaker and a pragmatic Democratic conference, having a Senate Majority Leader who can actually marshal his conference’s votes, and having a Senate minority conference interested in something other than total obstruction. 

In addition, it helps to have all of the lawmakers facing re-election in the fall. It helps to have a leading gubernatorial candidate committed to run against the dysfunction of Albany. It also helps to have the influential mayor of New York City engaged in stylish lobbying. 

At issue is the charter schools bill, which appears poised for passage by both houses today. It’s not a perfect bill, but then, as we find ourselves saying a lot nowadays: Perfect should not be the enemy of good. 

Passage of this bill is the first significant legislative accomplishment of the year. Perhaps the lawmakers can build on this experience and now tackle the budget.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2010 11:22 AM

    What we see is that there is no common interest among the key players. The Speaker doesn’t really care if the Senate goes back to the Republicans. It’s never stopped him in the past. So why go along with what Sen. Sampson believes that Sen. Dems need to hold that house if it hurts your members? Further, the interests of statewide candidates always clash with those representing Legislative districts. As a result Andrew Cuomo’s agenda will conflict in various ways with those of his party’s Legislative candidates. This is not an Albany disease — it’s a representative government disease. Representative government is all about interests and party labels rank below district concerns. Don’t pay attention to the rhetoric which is always about unity; pay attention to what people do.

  2. mark Keister permalink
    May 28, 2010 11:45 AM

    The Wise Ass says the solution is for all the Wise Asses to get off their respective asses, and verbalize

    loudly, clearly and succinctly the simple unavoidalbe fact that We have let Them

    get away with the equivialant of murder of our democratic processes for most of 125 years and we damn

    well ought to be mad as Hell about it and refuse to take it in the proverbial shorts any longer!

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