Assemblyman says state Capitol is the “people’s house and not a castle for kings” as so-called “Majority Reform Caucus” fails to deliver real reform to empower rank and file members and stop corruption in the Legislature
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today is calling the Assembly Majority’s new proposals to “promote transparency” a victory for the status quo and the unbridled power that has been given to the Speaker and leaders by the rank and file members of the Democratic Conference.
The Majority’s plan does not include any of the most important ingredients for reforming Albany and diminishing the power of legislative leaders to game the system and rule with an iron fist. These include: pension forfeiture for convicted felon elected officials who betray their oath of office, term limits for leaders, truth in spending to bring sunlight to state spending in the shadows to end quid pro-quos, equal staffing and resources for members, and giving rank and file members the ability to bring legislation to the Floor for an up or down vote.
“The one consistency about Albany is nothing changes when it comes to leaders voluntarily giving up any of their unbridled power to rule like kings,” said Tedisco. “The rank and file members of the so-called Majority ‘Reform Caucus’ had an opportunity to rise up and disperse power back for their own constituents. They chose to keep it the same as it ever was and remain serfs in the Kingdom of Albany.”
Tedisco is sponsoring the “Truth in Spending Law” (A.9525) that has the support of 41 sponsors so far, and which will require the executive and legislature to fully disclose how any public funds they allocate are spent and where the money comes from. Good government groups Citizens Union, the Empire Center, NYPIRG and Common Cause have publicly expressed support for Tedisco’s efforts to bring greater transparency to state spending decisions with this bill. The League of Women Voters has issued a memo of support for the bill.
Tedisco also is sponsoring the “Spirit of ‘76” bill (A.8658/S.6475) that allows for a piece of legislation that has garnered the sponsorship of 76 members of the Assembly and 32 members in the Senate -- regardless of party affiliation -- to bypass committee and the unbridled power of the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader and move to the Floor for a debate and vote.
“The New York State Capitol is still the people’s house and not a castle for kings. Make no mistake, rank and file members must pay heed to what U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said that ‘if you want to prevent corruption, don’t enable it. If you want to deter corrupt members, don’t become their willing accomplices.’ Otherwise, the cycle of corruption will just continue and the taxpayers of New York will continue to lose,” said Tedisco.