Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I – Schoharie) recently joined a number of his colleagues to speak on resolutions to reform the rules of the New York State Assembly, and asked the Assembly leadership to join his efforts to bring more openness and transparency to Albany and hold lawmakers more accountable. The 17 rules reform proposals were aimed at curbing corruption and bringing more openness to the Assembly. Proposals included enacting eight-year term limits for the Speaker of the Assembly, Legislative Leaders and committee chairpersons.
These changes were brought forward to test the newly configured Assembly leadership in the wake of Sheldon Silver’s resignation as Speaker of the Assembly. The new Assembly leadership blocked each of the proposed reforms on the grounds that the changes would impede their ability to run the Assembly Chamber. Assemblyman Lopez challenged this assertion, noting his observation that the conduct of the “new” administration has not been much different from the “old” under Speaker Silver.
“We heard one of our colleagues effectively assert that the series of resolutions seeking changes to the rules of this house would infringe on the right of the majority to govern. This gross declaration runs counter to the spirit of this democracy, which encourages diversity and independent thought, and it diminishes the significance and the usefulness of the changes being offered. I respectfully urged my colleagues to give this resolution the thoughtful consideration it deserved and vote independently, free of undue influence. Unfortunately, the new leadership pressured the majority of members to vote in lock step with the status quo. We need people across the state to join us in keeping up the pressure. Public confidence must be restored,” concluded Assemblyman Pete Lopez.