Lupardo: First Day Begins with Reform

Assemblywoman seeks new rules to bring about Albany reform

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) in one of her first acts in Albany unveiled a comprehensive reform plan she sponsored that will fundamentally change for the better the way New York’s government operates.

"By electing me to office, the Southern Tier has sent a message that reform is needed in Albany, and the Assembly has heard them — and acted," Lupardo said. "State government needs to be significantly more open, accountable and responsive to its people."

Assemblywoman Lupardo added that the Assembly is calling for conference committees to reach agreements with the Senate on the reform legislation. These committees will help iron out differences between the two houses, so the bills can be sent to the governor to be signed into law.

The new rules include:

  • ending empty-seat voting by requiring slow roll calls on all bills;
  • instituting Tuesday sessions to allow for greater review and debate of legislation;
  • overhauling the Assembly’s Rules Committee by clarifying the committee’s function as a means for scheduling floor action and making its meetings, which will have published agendas, open and public;
  • requiring the Assembly and Senate to each pass a concurrent budget resolution in early March setting out a timetable for key budget decisions, including immediately convening a joint conference committee to negotiate differences to achieve a more timely state budget;
  • conducting annual budget hearings to ensure a consistent process for a public review of state agency compliance with the enacted budget;
  • renewing the Assembly’s efforts for a statewide public service cable TV channel to cover state government with the immediate goal of televising Assembly proceedings statewide; and
  • restricting lobbyist access in the area at the rear of the Assembly Chamber.

Reform Legislation tops the agenda

"Reform does not stop with the Assembly rules changes but by changing the way Albany does business from here on out," Lupardo said. "I am a sponsor of a package of bills to change business as usual here in the state capital."

This comprehensive bill package includes:

  • Budget Reform (A.1, A.2)—ensuring responsible budgets are passed on-time every year.
  • Lobby Reform (A.9)—expands the definition of lobbying to include any effort to influence the action of any public official regarding the procurement of good or services, construction and the sale or purchase of land, as well as tribal state compacts, and executive orders.
  • Public Authorities Reform (A.3)—creates a public authority inspector general to make sure authorities are given the oversight they lack. Legislation would also establish an independent budget officer for public authorities and public benefit corporations to provide oversight of every authority’s budget.
  • Empire Zone Reform (A.6)—ensuring that Empire Zones are doing what they were intended, creating jobs to address the needs of distressed communities.
  • Campaign Finance Reform (A.4)—establishes public matching funds for candidates for state office that limit contributions and campaign spending.
  • Help American Vote Act (A.5, A.122, A.121, A.119, A.120)—implements voting reforms to make voting in New York easier and more accurate.
  • Judicial Selection Reform (A.7, A.8)—making sure that the most qualified judges serve on the bench.

"These proposals open the door and shed light on the people’s capital," Lupardo said. "I am working tirelessly to ensure that these reforms become law. I strongly urge the Senate and governor to join us in making our state government more responsive to the public."