Assemblyman Will Barclay said today (Jan. 28) that whoever the new Speaker will be, he or she must embrace reforming the Assembly rules and help pass meaningful ethics reform.
Barclay said the time is now for change in light of last night’s announcement that Sheldon Silver will resign as Speaker amidst the charges of public corruption.
“Given these recent charges and that a new Speaker will take over the Assembly, the first priority should be reform,” said Barclay. “Enough with enabling one person, the Speaker, to have so much control, from controlling the way ethics investigations are run, to determining which bills make it to the floor. I have long advocated for Assembly rules and ethics reform. Despite my numerous attempts, and attempts by my Assembly colleagues, the Speaker and Assembly Democrats have stonewalled these efforts. It is frustrating to watch, to say the least. We need to use these recent events as a catalyst for change and I hope sweeping changes are afoot in the ensuing days.”
Barclay is pushing the Assembly to enact the following rules reform:
· Allow members of the Assembly to bring bills to the floor for a vote.
· Impose term limits on leadership positions so one representative cannot serve for more than eight years in a leadership position.
· Require public hearings on legislation.
· Restructure committee assignments so committees are not stacked with a super majority; require votes made in committee be posted on the internet.
· End the three-men-in-a-room way of governing.
· Require a supermajority (2/3) vote for final passage of any bill that imposes a new tax.
· Mandate that all bills brought to the floor for a vote in the Assembly include information on the financial impacts of their passage.
In addition, Barclay is pushing for the following ethics reforms.
He has introduced ethics reform legislation.
· Require elected officials convicted of a felony to forfeit their state pension.
· Bar any elected official convicted of a felony related to his/her duties from holding public employment in the future.
· Create an independent Assembly ethics committee as opposed to an ethics committee that is directly controlled by the Speaker of the Assembly.
· Require that any complaint made against an Assembly member or a staff member be referred to the committee.
· Enable the ethics committee to impose various penalties or, in certain cases, recommend penalties be imposed by a vote of the full Assembly.
“There needs to be a more equitable way of governing, that is more representative of the people of New York. By including the rank and file members in the process, we can have a better government that gives all regions of the state a real voice. By passing reforms, we can close loopholes that have been exploited,” said Barclay.