Assemblyman calls on Governor, Legislature to wait three days to enable lawmakers, public and media to read and comment on major legislation
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) tonight sounded the government transparency alarm bells as the Governor and legislative leaders are reportedly preparing messages of necessity to push through several high profile bills that will affect the lives of millions of New Yorkers.
Today is the last day of the scheduled 2014 New York State Legislative session and instead of delaying its summer break by a few days to adhere to the constitutionally mandated three-day waiting period to give time to review legislation on medical marijuana, teacher evaluations and, perhaps, other issues, they likely will ramrod measures through in the dead of night.
Tedisco is sponsoring legislation, the New York State Government Transparency Act (A.4762/S.3498) to stop the clock on all legislative proceedings between midnight and 8 a.m. and limit messages of necessity except in the case of genuine emergencies such as a security threat, natural disaster or dire fiscal situation. The bill would require a two-thirds majority vote to take up any message of necessity.
“Here we go again with messages of necessity. I’ve seen this movie before with the governor and the legislative leaders acting in the dark of night and it hasn’t always worked out so well for taxpayers,” said Tedisco.
“The Founding Fathers had it right when they developed the three separate branches of government to be a check on each other and to require that legislators, the public and the press take three days to read and review legislation except in genuine emergencies such as war, natural disasters or a financial calamity. I may vote for these bills on the Floor but I won’t vote for the process to get them via message of necessity because if the legislation is so good tonight then it will stand the test of scrutiny in three days,” said Tedisco.
“As I’ve often noted, I once heard the renowned investigative reporter, Bob Woodward, say that the greatest threat to our democracy is ‘secret government’ because in darkness democracy dies. I hope the shroud of secret government doesn’t once again descend on our state Capitol tonight while most New Yorkers are sleeping,” said Tedisco.