Assembly Minority Conference Offers Rules Reforms To Improve Operations In The Assembly Chamber

‘It’s Unfortunate That Our Expectations For The 2020 Legislative Session Aren’t Shared By Our Colleagues Across The Aisle.’
January 29, 2020

The Assembly Minority Conference today introduced 18 proposals designed to improve operations in the Assembly Chamber, promote fairness and increase transparency. In addition to common-sense proposals offered in previous legislative sessions, the Conference presented three new proposals that facilitate greater efficiency to bill introduction and the legislative process.

Among the rules reforms rejected today were a requirement for a floor vote for any bill with 76 sponsors, and implementation of televised Assembly committee meetings – a measure adopted in 2016, but yet to move forward.

Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C,I,Ref-Pulaski) expressed his disappointment in the Assembly Majority’s decision to, again, block these basic reforms that would enhance the way the Assembly operates, and in turn add a higher level of transparency.

“On the opening day of session, the Chamber was filled with promises of working together for 19 million New Yorkers. It’s unfortunate that our expectations for the 2020 Legislative Session aren’t shared by our colleagues across the aisle. Today’s inaction by the Majority merely demonstrated their commitment to preserving an outdated system rather than ensuring the People’s House operates equitably and in the best interest of constituents across the state,” said Leader Barclay.

A list of rules reforms proposed by the Assembly Minority is outlined below:

2020 Rules Reforms

  • Motion to Discharge Reform - Spirit of 76 – Declares a motion to discharge to be in order if the bill or resolution is sponsored by at least 76 members of the Assembly or by a vote of the majority of all members of the Assembly (E.701, offered by Assemblywoman Walsh).
  • 2/3 Vote for Messages of Necessity – Requires a two-thirds majority vote for Messages of Necessity submitted by the governor to be accepted (E.702, offered by Assemblyman Garbarino).
  • Committee Membership Ratio – Provides that the number of majority members on a standing committee be in the same ratio as the majority members of the Assembly are to the entire membership of the Assembly (E.703, offered by Assemblyman Schmitt).
  • Resolution Aging Reform – Requires resolutions to age three days prior to a vote unless the Speaker and the Minority Leader waive this rule (E.704, offered by Assemblyman DeStefano).
  • Single Opportunity for Legislative Equality (SOLE) Act – Allows each member of the Legislature, during each two-year term, to bring one substantive piece of legislation of his or her choosing to the Floor for a vote (E.705, offered by Assemblyman Johns).
  • Leadership Term Limits – Imposes eight-year term limits on the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Assembly (E.706, offered by Assemblyman Byrne).
  • Committee Bill Removal Prohibition – Prohibits a bill from being removed from a committee agenda once voting on the bill has started (E.707, offered by Assemblyman Salka).
  • Committee Substitution Notice – Prohibits the Speaker from substituting a member of a committee and the Chair from permitting a substitution unless 24 hour notice is given to the ranking minority member of the committee (E.708, offered by Assemblyman Finch).
  • Multi-Sponsorship Time Frame – Requires all multi-sponsorship forms signed by the introducer and the multi-sponsor to be processed by the Index Clerk within five days of the date of submission (E.709, offered by Assemblyman Tague).
  • Committee Hearing Petitions – Allows one-third of the members of a committee to petition for a hearing on a bill or an oversight hearing (E.710, offered by Assemblywoman Miller).
  • Sufficient Staff Funding Allocations – Ensures sufficient staff and resources for ranking members of committees or members in Minority Leadership positions to deal with the activity of that committee or position (E.711, offered by Assemblyman Manktelow).
  • Speaker Term Limit – Imposes eight-year term limits on the Speaker of the Assembly (E.712, offered by Assemblyman Goodell).
  • Supermajority Vote for Extended Session – Requires a two-thirds vote of all members elected to the Assembly for session to extend beyond the eight-hour limit (E.713, offered by Assemblyman Walczyk).
  • Committee Chair Term Limits – Imposes eight-year term limits on committee chairs (E.714, offered by Assemblywoman Byrnes).
  • TV Broadcast of Committee Meetings – Requires implementation of this Rule, which was adopted by the NYS Assembly in 2016, by April 1st of this year (E.715, offered by Assemblyman Palmesano).
  • Timely Bill Introduction After Conclusion of Session* – Requires all bills to be assigned a bill number within five business days after being delivered to the Index Clerk after the conclusion of Session in the first year (E.716, offered by Assemblyman Reilly).
  • Timely 99 Receipts* – Requires the Index Clerk of the Assembly to issue 99 receipts in the absence of the Clerk of the Standing Committee (E.717, offered by Assemblyman LiPetri).
  • Limit on One-House Bills* – Limits the passage of one-house bills to once every two-year term, with the exception of Home Rule Bills (E.718, offered by Assemblyman Smullen).

(*new proposal for 2020)