“Legislators return to Albany with a greater responsibility to enact meaningful, systemic change than at any time in political history.
We begin the 2016 session less than a month after a second legislative leader was convicted of corruption crimes. As always, our highest priority is our constituents – their faith in government must be restored. But at the same time, we have a duty to save an institution in perilous decline. Mounting corruption scandals have defined us. Decisive action to reform the system is the only way to rebuild the public trust.
Once again, the Assembly Republican Conference will put forward the strongest and most effective anti-corruption proposals in the Legislature, and we will demand changes to Albany’s “business as usual” approach that will include:
- Ending the secretive, dysfunctional practice of “three men in a room” budget negotiations;
- Pension forfeiture legislation that strips convicted officials of taxpayer-funded retirements;
- Implementing term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs;
- Banning outside income for legislative leaders and limiting outside income for committee chairs; and
- Rules reforms that empower individual members and put a greater emphasis on serving constituents, rather than serving political parties.
Despite the cloud of corruption and haze of doubt that hangs over the State Capitol, we must prove to the people who elected us that we hear their call to action and finally get our state’s government back on track. Over the coming weeks, the Assembly Republican Conference will offer important measures that help all New Yorkers. Some of these initiatives include:
- Finally implementing changes to the flawed Common Core system that has created stress and confusion for students, teachers and school districts;
- Enacting Brittany’s Law, creating a registry of violent felony offenders to offer greater protections and curtail incidents of domestic violence;
- Reinforcing our commitment to New Yorkers with disabilities with improved employment and housing opportunities;
- Helping small businesses through policies that make it less expensive to operate in New York State and cutting onerous regulations that cripple our job-creators;
- Legalizing Mixed Martial Arts, which has more than 70 sponsors in the Assembly, but has been inexplicably blocked from a floor vote;
- Addressing the growing heroin epidemic in New York State, and facilitating expanded treatment and recovery avenues;
- Making college more affordable for hard-working New Yorkers and presenting greater training opportunities for the next generation of skilled workers; and
- Continuing to fight for equity in the investment of resources for local roads, highways and bridges, ensuring that Upstate gets its fair share.
The time is now, and change must begin today. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Assembly to bring real reform to Albany, to help New York’s families and businesses prosper, and to restore the public’s faith in government that has eroded for far too long."