NYSS Temporary Committee on Rules Reform: Albany Testimony Given February 10, 2009

Hearing MinutesMinutes from the Hearing in Albany

Susan Lerner, Executive DirectorNew York Common Cause

E.J. McMahon, DirectorEmpire Center for New York State Policy

Blair Horner, Legislative DirectorNew York Public Interest Research Group

February 10, 2009

Rules Reform Committee Holds 2nd Hearing In Albany

Today the bi-partisan Senate Rules and Administration Reform Committee held the second of four public hearings, at which they heard testimony from reform advocates and citizens for how the State Senate can improve the legislative process and become a transparent and accountable body. These hearings are key to the new Majority’s effort to open up the legislative process, and increase public awareness and input.

February 10, 2009

Senate Rules Reform Committee Website Launched

As part of their commitment to increase public participation and awareness about the legislative process in Albany, the bi-partisan New York State Senate Temporary Committee on Rules and Administration Reform today announced the launch of a new website:

February 10, 2009
February 10, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

NYSS Temporary Committee on Rules Reform: Syracuse Testimony Given Friday, February 6, 2009

Hearing MinutesMinutes from the Hearing in Syracuse

Jennifer Drage, Policy Associate National Conference of State Legislatures

Tanika Jones, Syracuse Area OrganizerCitizen Action of New York

Joan Johnson, Co-PresidentSyracuse Metro League of Women Voters

February 6, 2009

News From The News From The Temporary Committee On Rules Reform

SENATE RULES AND ADMINISTRATION REFORM COMMITTEE GATHERS TESTIMONY FROM REFORM ADVOCATES, INCLUDING A FORMER SENATOR The State Senate’s Temporary Committee on Rules and Administration Reform held its first public hearing of four planned across the state, and heard from several good government groups, regional reform advocates and a former state senator.  The hearing was hosted at Syracuse City Hall by Reform Committee Co-Chairs State Sen. David Valesky and State Sen. John Bonacic.   

February 6, 2009

Rules Reform Committee Represents A New Beginning

Last week, in a room deep within the Capitol building in Albany, an amazing thing happened. Five Democrats and three Republicans sat at a table and openly discussed a subject close to my heart—reform—during a committee meeting, laying plans for groundbreaking changes in how the State Senate will operate. And, for the first time ever, it was recorded and broadcast on the web.

January 30, 2009

Remembering The Reason For Memorial Day

These days, many people often refer to Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer -- and we hear it mentioned in passing as the beginning of the summer travel season, or barbecue season, or some other season. But, all of us should take a moment to remember that it is so much more.

As this Memorial Day arrives, it is important for us to take a moment to collectively recall and honor the men and women who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "gave their last full measure of devotion" to our country.

May 16, 2008

Valesky Tours State's First Cogen Home


In recognition of Earth Day last week, I had the pleasure of visiting a new home that has within it a furnace that may hold the key to reducing energy costs and carbon emissions. But to understand the concept, it might be best to start by considering the makeup of a typical car.

When you are driving down the road, your car is burning gas to run the engine. But it is also using the engine’s energy to create electricity. That electricity powers your radio and other devices in your car.

April 25, 2008

Budget Done, But Does End Justify Means?

This year’s state budget season included economic forecasts and unforeseen events that certainly presented unprecedented challenges for members of the Legislature and the new Governor. In the end we adopted a budget that was nine days late, and that had a share of restraint and many strong initiatives for Central New York. Still, I believe the final product, and the process, left much to be desired.

April 11, 2008

Are You Looking For A Job?

Thinking about a career in public service? Government careers can be both exciting and rewarding. New York State and local governments offer a broad range of career opportunities, from law enforcement to medical, conservation to education, and much more.Government jobs offer competitive salaries and benefits, including flexible work schedules. Best of all, New York State and local government jobs are available right here in New York, so you may not have to travel far to find the rewarding career that you seek.

April 9, 2008

Year In Review

With the Holidays upon us, another year is quickly drawing to a close. For me, it is a time when I like to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and consider lessons to be learned. When it comes to the Legislature, it has been a difficult year to summarize, for it was a year full of both promising accomplishments and disappointing distractions. The year began with great hope, as the new Governor and the Legislature tackled challenges that had gone unresolved for years, if not decades.

December 14, 2007

Are Gift Cards On Your Holiday List?

With the holiday shopping season upon us, we will all be tempted to purchase gift cards for family and friends. These cards can be a practical way to get something for that special person. And, it seems that everywhere you look, from the checkout aisle to newspaper ads, the virtue of these cards is being promoted by top retailers. Because of their ease and promotion, gift cards have become increasingly popular, with the number issued up more then 34 percent over the last two shopping seasons.

November 30, 2007

Senator Valesky Pushes Legislation To Rein In Thruway Authority And Hold Off Toll Increase

State Sen. David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) expressed frustration with the New York State Thruway Authority’s plan to increase tolls and renewed his calls for legislation that would require Senate and Assembly approval of any future toll increases. "Decisions affecting so many travelers and commuters, and potentially impacting the Upstate economy, should not be made without legislative input and public oversight," said Sen. Valesky.

November 20, 2007

Education, Energy And Economic Development

The political season is finally behind us, and now it is time to focus on the coming holidays as we prepare for the end of this year and the beginning of the next. While most of us are happy to view the landscape without lawn signs, there is at least one important subject matter talked about a great deal this campaign season that I hope we can continue to focus on in the coming year. It is a subject that I and others have promoted for some time, and that I believe holds great promise for our region.

November 9, 2007

Upstate Products In Downstate Markets

Corn, two ears for one dollar or $5.50 a dozen. Peppers, beans, and cabbage, all with premium prices. To top it off, in the little park surrounded by skyscrapers there were hundreds of people mulling about buying bags of these farm fresh products. This was the scene on the first Monday in October at the Union Square Green Market in Manhattan, where four days a week twenty-five to seventy-five farmers from across the state set up shop to sell produce and farm products to the residents of New York City.

October 5, 2007

The "i Live New York" Movement

We all know someone who has moved away to find work, whether they are our friends, our children or our grandkids. Over the past decade, far too many young people have had to leave Central New York after college to find work and start their careers. This symptom of prolonged economic stagnation is also one of the greatest challenges we face as we work to reinvigorate the Upstate Economy. By now, we all know what this exodus is called: the Brain Drain. And we all agree it must be stopped. The question is how.

September 21, 2007

Expanding Health Coverage To Uninsured Children

There are more than 400,000 children in New York state that do not have health insurance. To put that number in perspective, that is equal to the entire population of Onondaga County, including the City of Syracuse and the well populated suburban towns of Cicero, Manlius and Clay. It is an astounding number. These uninsured children live in all regions of the state and come from diverse backgrounds. Many of these children are urban poor. Others are from rural communities, including farming families that have few places to turn for health coverage.

September 20, 2007