Sampson Relents On Reform, Silver The Odd Man Out
Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch’s NY Uprising PAC declared a “major victory” today, announcing Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson has given in and signed a trio of budget, ethics and redistricting reform pledges, leaving Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver the lone holdout among the legislative leaders.
“While my policy as leader is not to sign the many pledges that are presented to me, I want you to know my position on the three issues that you have raised with the members of the State Legislature: I support the concepts of applying generally accepted accounting principles to our state budget, requiring disclosure of lawmakers’ non-government income and appointing an independent commission to redraw legislative district lines,” Sampson said in a statement released by NY Uprising.
The leader sent a letter (the text of which appears in full after the jump) to the former mayor that announced his change of heart, proclaimed optimism about the likely election of gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo (who also signed Koch’s pledges) and outlined the reforms the Democrats have achieved on his watch.
Koch praised Sampson warmly and triumphantly declared: “Today will prove to be monumental in our fight for reform.”
He noted (albeit not mentioning them by name) that both Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb have also signed the NY Uprising pledges, which makes him confident “New York will have fair and equitable legislative lines drawn for the first time in history.”
Of course, both houses of the Legislature will have to sign off on the next redistricting plan – not to mention the legislation that would create the independent commission to handle that process that Koch so desires. And that won’t happen as long as Silver isn’t on board.
Dear Mayor Koch,
Like so many New Yorkers, I thank you for your leadership on important reform issues. Indeed, we share the same reform goals — and I look forward following the election of Andrew Cuomo as Governor to implementing the necessary reform measures our state so clearly needs.
As the leader of the Democratic majority in the State Senate — a majority that recently replaced 44 years of Republican rule — I appreciate the need for fundamental change in Albany.
While my policy as leader is not to sign the many pledges that are presented to me, I want you to know my position on the three issues that you have raised with the members of the State Legislature:
I support the concepts of applying generally accepted accounting principles to our state budget, requiring disclosure of lawmakers’ non-government income and appointing an independent commission to redraw legislative district lines.
I also want you to know our track record on key reform issues. Since taking control of the State Senate less than two years ago, Democrats have enacted sweeping good-government reforms to Senate rules that empowered rank-and-file members while lifting the Republican-imposed veil of secrecy.
Now, for the first time ever:
· Senators may move a bill from committee to the calendar, so good ideas from both parties can get a hearing
· Nearly every legislative record available under the Freedom of Information Law is made available without the need for formal requests, expanding transparency and reducing bureaucracy
· Every Senate committee meeting, hearing and legislative session is webcast live — with the video archived on the web for the press and public to view at anytime.
In addition, my Democratic colleagues have worked hard to implement reforms that both demonstrate our commitment to a new era in Albany and affect taxpayers directly — including a strict property tax cap, reforms and cost-savings for public employee pensions and tough new rules for insurance companies and HMOs.
We’re just getting started, and I am committed to working with the new Governor and Assembly Speaker to ensure critical reforms are enacted. I look forward to working alongside you as Democrats continue the kind of reform that makes systemic changes to how Albany functions.
Together, let us celebrate a Democratic and reform victory in November.
Senator John L. Sampson
Majority Conference Leader
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on September 8, 2010 at 11:15 am, and is filed under Albany, Assembly, John Sampson, Reform, Sheldon Silver, State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|