Senate Republicans Oppose Anti-Democratic Rules Changes Adopted Today By New Majority

John J. Flanagan

January 10, 2019

Deputy Senate Minority Leader Joseph Griffo (47th Senate District) and members of the Senate Republican Conference today opposed anti-democratic rules changes adopted by the new Democrat Majority.

The adopted changes will:

  • Create a new ethics structure that will invite biased, partisan, and politically motivated investigations of members and others;
  • Sharply reduce the size of the committees, shutting out rank-and-file members and closing the room before negotiations on the State budget and other legislation even begin; and
  • No longer guarantee 30 percent of total staff resources to the Minority.

Senator Griffo said, “It’s the height of hypocrisy for a Majority that campaigned on change and reform to adopt rules that would hamper the Minority and shut out millions of New Yorkers from their own state government. Democrats should go back to the drawing board.”

As advanced, the adopted rules would reconstitute the Ethics and Internal Governance Committee to review legislation, but also to allow partisan investigations. Unlike the U.S. Congress and the New York State Assembly, this committee will be comprised of more Democrats than Republicans. This unprecedented change is profoundly dangerous to democracy in Albany, Senate Republicans argued.

In addition, Democrats will sharply reduce the size of all committees, including the powerful Finance and Rules committees. Some committees will be decreased by such an extent that they will include only one minority member.

The new Majority will also be throwing out established practice by no longer guaranteeing the minority 30 percent of existing resources, inhibiting its ability to serve as a loyal opposition, protect taxpayers, and hold those in power accountable.

“It’s not too late to decide what kind of Senate we want to create for hardworking New Yorkers and their families. I hope the Democrats will reconsider these rules changes,” Senator Griffo said.

A news conference was held in the New York State Capitol before the opening of the new legislative session. The rules changes were adopted during today’s session.