The Legislature Under Pressure
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.