Palmesano: Spirit of 76

January 22, 2016
Assemblyman Phil Palmesano says he wants to see a bill called “The Spirit of 76” passed in the state legislature. The Corning Republican says that the bill would make it so, that when a majority of assemblymen support a bill, it makes it to the floor for a vote.
Under current state assembly rules, the assembly speaker can ignore a popular piece of legislation.
The legislation (A.8658) would empower members of the Legislature on both sides of the aisle to override the speaker’s unilateral power to select which bills come to the floor for a vote, ensuring that legislation sponsored by a majority of the body’s members would come to the floor for an up-or-down vote. “This bill epitomizes what democracy is all about,” said Palmesano. “Passing this bill would be a sign to all New Yorkers that we are committed to reforming this house.”
Palmesano noted that many New Yorkers don’t realize that the speaker can keep a bill from coming to the floor regardless of how many sponsors it has. “In the House of Representatives, if a majority of the members sponsor a bill, they can file a motion to bring it to the floor for a vote even if the speaker of the house doesn’t support it,” said Palmesano. “Why should the speaker of our house be able to overrule the majority of our house’s members? It doesn’t make sense.”