Cuomo's idea of consensus building
Monday, January 03, 2011 - 01:58 PM
Here's a clear shot at Albany's legislative practices, fired by Andrew Cuomo during his inauguration ceremony in the War Room on Saturday.
"We must realize that achieving political consensus in a political conference is different than providing governmental leadership for the people of the state of New York."
Which seems to cut directly against the kind of legislative process we saw withcongestion pricing, which failed in conference committee:
The way the Democratic members see it, opening potentially contested votes up to all the members of the Assembly would be a voluntary abdication of party advantage. The will of the majority of Democrats, they point out, correctly, might not be done.
“If you had 44 Republicans and 32 Democrats, you could theoretically pass a bill that a majority of the Democratic conference opposed,” said Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester, who emerged as the vocal public leader of the opposition to congestion pricing. “That is not the way we run the system. And frankly, it’s not the way we should run the system.”
Assemblyman Jonathan Bing, a good-government type from the East Side of Manhattan, explained it by saying, “The idea that democracy did not occur here [because] it was not a floor vote really is incorrect. Democracy occurred with every member of the Assembly majority providing the speaker with his or her views, whether it was in conference or when the speaker polled members.”
“The process works in ways in which the committee structure weeds out bad bills and kills them,” Mr. Brodsky explained. “In this case, the issue was so important that the conference substituted for a committee meeting. It was a committee of the whole, as it were.”