Checks And Balances
From CapTon morning memo:
Over the last two-plus years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has largely gotten what he wants from the state Legislature.
For a guy who decries the “beltway” mentality (perhaps he means I-787) of Albany, Cuomo has proven to be unusually adept at pushing measures through a governing body that was known more for corruption and recalcitrance than actually doing something meaningful.
In doing so, Cuomo has made an inherently powerful office of New York state governor all the more powerful.
The governor has broad authority in the budget, but this governor seems to have shown a smart ability at cajoling, arm twisting and striking when the iron is hot to get things done.
Now, there seems to be some legislative push back.
Democratic Sen. Terry Gipson announced late yesterday he was introducing a measure that would prevent, in his words, “vampire voting” and prevent votes in the Senate and Assembly from being held between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.
Gipson, who Cuomo declined to endorse this past election cycle, said on the floor of the Senate last month that he was uneasy with the way in which the governor’s sweeping gun control law was being rushed through the Legislature via message of necessity, which waives the three-day aging process. The Senate would later pass the gun control law after 9 (the Democratic-led Assembly, ever the paragon of good-government, chose to vote on the law the following afternoon following hours of floor debate).
A more pointed effort to weaken gubernatorial power will be made today when Sen. Greg Ball, along with Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, announce plans to scale back the use of the messages of necessity through a Constitutional amendment.
Cuomo has used the messages of necessity far less than his predecessors, but he has deployed the move for significant legislation such as a tax code overhaul, same-sex marriage and the new pension tier. Past Governor’s have used the power to get budget bills or omnibus bills rammed through before the end of session.
It seems unlikely that Cuomo would want to support either of these bills, both for practical concerns and for broader philosophical ones.
If anything, the last thing a governor would likely want to do is weaken his own office’s inherent power. Ironically enough, it was Gov. David Paterson, perhaps one of the weakest governors in the state’s history, was able to make huge strides in enhances the office’s budgetary powers through the use of emergency appropriations in order to pass a late budget.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans on Monday were skeptical of Cuomo’s Court of Appeals nominee, Jenny Rivera, calling into question her qualifications in a lengthy Judiciary Committee hearing, leading some lawmakers to question whether her nomination would be advanced (a highly unusual development).
Separately, none of these three examples may seem to amount to much and are not related to the dip in the governor’s approval rating.
Taken together, they are part of the logical outcome of when an executive has amassed a great deal of power and influence: Lawmakers are trying to reassert some checks and balances in the relationship with Cuomo.
The governor himself, meanwhile, will be out in Potsdam today to give a localized version of his budget presentation. Cuomo has always insisted that his real power lies not in Albany or within the corridors of the Capitol, but convincing voters that his plan is the best path and then having them influence their local legislator.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on February 5, 2013 at 9:45 am, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|