New York, NY – Senator José M. Serrano (D-Manhattan/Bronx) today commented on his appointment to a new Senate committee on rules reform, and expressed his strong desire to create a more functional and bi-partisan legislative body.
The Temporary Senate Committee on Rules and Administration Reform was launched by Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith as part of a package of forward-thinking changes. The committee, comprised of members from both sides of the aisle, will report back to the full Senate within 90 days with proposals to further increase accountability and transparency.
"Legislative reform was an integral part of my platform when I ran for the Senate in 2004," said Senator Serrano. "In sitting on this historic new committee, I feel things have finally come full circle, and we have a tremendous opportunity to bring change."
One of the reforms already adopted this month allows for open-bill sponsorship for any member that chooses to support a piece of legislation. "This is a tremendous step forward," said the Senator, who added that, "While in the Minority, I was often asked by constituents why I did not sign onto a noteworthy piece of legislation." His answer: "I wasn't allowed."
The Senator has begun the process of bill re-introduction for the current term. "In the new spirit of bi-partisanship, I have sent information on my bills to all of my colleagues in the Senate. Thus,
not only do Minority members now have the power to co-sponsor, I am actively welcoming their support and insight as well," said the Senator, who is also the newly appointed Secretary of the Senate, and Chair of the Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks, and Recreation Committee.
"As Majority Smith has indicated, we have only begun the fight to restore confidence in our state government, and I am excited to play a role in the journey to come."
Among his many reform priorities, the Senator noted the strong momentum for transparency by way of new technology. "I will push for a live internet feed of Senate hearings and committee meetings. It's time we empower residents throughout the State to see – and oversee! – their government in action."