Albany more in agreement... kind of

Jun 27, 2014

Lawmakers continued their trend of passing fewer bills than in years past
Credit NYPIRG handout

A good government group issued an analysis of New York's legislative accomplishments this year and reports that Albany moved a little bit closer toward limiting public debate on major issues.

The New York Public Interest Research Group found that the total number of bills passed by state lawmakers stayed at historically low levels, but at the same time the size of the budget document increased.

New York's budget is notoriously brokered in secret by the governor and legislative leaders.

Researcher Bill Mahoney says what's happening is more and more legislation is being stuffed into the budget in order to make sure lawmakers approve it without public debate.

“That's not a sign that there's a healthy debate in public," he says. "It is a sign that most of what's passing was decided behind closed doors.”

Mahoney's analysis shows that the amount of time lawmakers spent debating each bill in public dropped to about two minutes, just enough time to read the name of the bill and call a vote.

Also, the amount of overall opposition to bills dropped while the unanimity of each caucus got even closer to 100 percent agreement with how the leader voted.