2007-02-02 / Community

Huntley Calls For State Senate Reforms

Newly-elected State Senator Shirley L. Huntley (D-Queens) recently criticized the Republican-controlled Senate for failing to deliver on their promise of legislative reform. The Senate Democratic Conference recently proposed changes to the Senate rules that would increase participation of rank-and-file members by recording each vote a Senator takes, providing equal resources and making it easier for Senators to get their legislation voted on.

"I am very disappointed that Senate Republicans blatantly disregarded a clear mandate from hardworking New Yorkers who demanded- at the polls in November- a more open, responsive Legislature," Senator Huntley said. "By rejecting proposals that would create a more democratic and transparent legislative process, the Republican majority stands by a discredited and myopic view of how the Legislature should conduct its business."

Senator Huntley said her proposals include: recording every vote a Senator takes on resolutions and motions to petition; providing each lawmaker with the same number of staff and resources, similar to the U.S. Congress; providing full disclosure of member items including the sponsor's name, the recipient and amount of funding; prohibiting member items to private for-profit organizations; banning gifts to members except nominal gifts; and changing the rules to make it easier for all members to get a bill on the floor for a vote by the full Senate.

Supporting Senator Huntley's proposals include groups such as the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, the Brennan Center for Justice, the New York Public Interest Research Group and Citizens' Union, who together released a letter calling on all Senators to vote for these reforms.

"I was elected in large part to help transform the way business is conducted in Albany," Huntley said. "My Democratic colleagues and I will continue to press for legislative reform, restoring the ability of millions of New Yorkers to effectively influence state government through their elected officials."

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