Friday, June 3, 2016

Where's The Ethics!?

With seven days of session remaining will the legislature pass any ethics reforms!?!? At that moment we’re feeling rather pessimistic, especially in light of this being an election year. Many members are anxious to head back to their districts to collect signatures for their petitions before the August 8th deadline. Although we are pessimistic we continue to be proactive and have been working with our good government partners planning our moves for the final days of session.

Luckily some of our other priority issues are moving including the Single Payer Health bill which passed in the Assembly on Wednesday. The League has also partnered with PowHer to push a bill on Pay Equity. We issued a joint memo of support to the Assembly and Senate for A.8487/S.6059A. This legislation would ensure that companies receiving state contracts are paying their employees fairly regardless of gender and race. You can read the full memo here.  The League is also keeping a close eye on the Contraceptive Coverage bill which would ensure all forms of contraception are covered by private insurers. We are hoping to push this bill through the Assembly and Senate before session ends.

On Wednesday we were treated to an explosive Assembly Election Law Committee meeting. Many of our priority bills on voting have been moved out of committee and placed on the calendar but there were several bills which went on to be held in other committees. Assemblywoman Walker was furious that her new omnibus bill on voting reforms was not even considered by the committee. The Chairman, Assemblyman Cusick, instead chose to move his own bill which had similar reforms but excluded some key components of her bill that would add additional protections for minorities who are discriminated against at poll sites. The Assemblywoman took a stand and demanded to know why the other omnibus bill was pushed through the committee while hers was not considered. The two then engaged in a lengthy debate (nearly 15 minutes of yelling!) over whether or not the Chairman had followed the protocol surrounding bringing a bill to vote in a committee. Many bills were held including Assemblywoman Galef’s pay-to-play bill which would ensure that all businesses dealing with the government could not make large campaign contributions (looking at you LP Cimminelli). Much to our dismay, the bill was held. We will be joining the Assemblywoman at a press conference on Friday and urging the legislature to take action on instituting real ethics reforms. Here’s hoping something happens between now and June 16th!

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