Senator Serrano Fights for Equal Resources for All Senate Districts

José M. Serrano

January 31, 2011

(Albany, NY)- Today Senator Serrano (D-Manhattan/Bronx) expressed his disappointment at the defeat of an Amendment, of which he is the sponsor, that would provide equal allocations to each member of the New York State Senate. These allocations include staff, printed materials, postage, and travel costs.

The amendment has been previously presented by the Republican Conference, and was based on the Minority Report to the Temporary Committee on Rules Reform, which was authored by three Republican Senators. Today the Democratic Conference presented three amendments to Senate Rules, further building on their commitment to enacting significant rules reform within the New York State Senate.

"Within the past few years the majority of the members of the Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, have gone on the record in support of reform, and the time has come for the Legislature to adopt fair and honest Rules." said Senator Serrano, who served on the Temporary Committee on Rules and Administration Reform. "While in the Majority for the last two years, the Democratic Conference passed the most significant rules reforms in the history of the Senate- making the chamber more transparent and bipartisan than ever before. We must continue working to make the Senate more responsive to the needs of our constituencies, and that entails providing each district with an equal amount of resources and continuing to develop a more fair and complete rules process."

Serrano continued: "We took steps, while in the Majority, to make the Senate more equal, accountable and open- implementing changes that gave rank and file members from both sides of the aisle the opportunity to have their voices heard and producing a more democratic Chamber. After taking those important first steps, we must continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to implement reforms that will equally benefit all New Yorkers, not just those who live in the districts of Senators who are members of the party in power."

The three amendments presented today would provide equal staff allocations and resources for all Senators; provide more detailed, transparent accounting of the Senate budget, formalize the committee hearing process, and allow greater access and participation for rank and file members; and change the number of standing committees, the rules governing the introduction of legislation through the committee process, and public notification of legislation.