April 21, 2009

Statement From Speaker Silver On
Senate Rules Reform Recommendations

The Assembly remains committed to strengthening our rules for operation to promote a more open, accountable and effective legislative body. In 2005 and again in 2007, the Assembly in a bipartisan effort adopted sweeping rules changes which strengthened the committee process, enhanced and encouraged member participation and expanded the opportunity for floor debate. Among the significant reforms were a complete end to empty-seat voting, mandating that all bills go through a standing committee other than the rules committee prior to floor action, and restricting the utilization of messages of necessity.

We are pleased that the report of the Senate's Temporary Committee listed several reforms that have long been an Assembly priority. I am recommending that we immediately expand our television broadcast to include all Albany-based legislative hearings and that both houses of the Legislature adopt a concurrent resolution to provide for a bipartisan, bicameral advisory board to oversee the further expansion of the channel.

I also recommend that both houses amend the joint rule on conference committee to expand and enhance their use.

In addition, I have asked the Assembly Steering Committee to review the Senate's report, particularly as it relates to joint proposals.