Message of Necessity for Immediate Vote
An Emergency! Message of Necessity for Immediate Vote
Waiting 72 Hours to Vote versus Voting Immediately

Minority Leader Brian Kolb on recent gun legislation: 'No reason' for message of necessity

January 14th, 2013- Bill Samuels Cuomo's done it again!!

Azi Paybarah, The Capital, January 17, 2013

"Governor Andrew Cuomo denied he rushed his gun control legislation through the New York State legislature to in order to garner headlines and beat President Obama's unveiling of similar legislation on the federal level." Azi Paybarah, The Capital, January 17, 2013

"I started talking about this before there was any suggestion that there was any report coming out by the vice president," Cuomo said in a radio interview. "I'm not going to give the public notice, 'I'm going to do an assault weapons ban in three days. Quick, run out and buy an assault weapon before the ban went into place,' which is exactly what happened." The Capital, January 17, 2013

“We’re told basically to shut up and vote, and that’s what this is all about,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “Just don’t question it, just vote. That’s basically the message here. If that’s not dictatorial, I don’t know what is. Thomas Kaplan, New York Times, February 5, 2013

The lawmakers’ proposal to curb expedited voting would limit the governor’s ability to waive the constitutionally required three-day waiting period before lawmakers could vote on legislation. It would also restrict the Legislature’s consideration of bills between midnight and 8 a.m. Thomas Kaplan, New York Times, February 5, 2013

"Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants;" Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, "What Publicity Can Do," Harper's Weekly, December 20, 1913.

“Three days of debate, everyone has an opinion, it’s entirely transparent, we never reach resolution,” Cuomo said. “I get 100 percent for transparency. I get zero for results.”  Governor Andrew Cuomo, Long Island Press, December 12, 2011

"On March 15, 2012, after midnight and before the start of business, the Governor found 'four emergencies' warranting the use of the message of necessity that were not real emergencies," said Bill Samuels, Chair of New Roosevelt. "It is time to totally ban the message of necessity in order to ensure transparency in Albany."

June 15, 2012- Bill Samuels applauds Governor Cuomo's decision to forego furrther use of the Message of Necessity this legislative session.(See News Below)

"Given the decades of misuse of the Message of Necessity by every Governor, it is unlikely that Cuomo's current positive step will become a binding precedent on future Governors or even on this one."

"I Call on Cuomo to state that he will not revert to this cynical procedure and that he will support a Constitutional Amendmenent to ban its practice." 

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New York policy makers often find ways around inconvenient constitutional requirements such as the  requirement that a bill “ripen” on legislators’ desks for three days before any vote, except in emergencies, has little force (Article III, section 14), as governors find “emergencies” whenever politically useful.

The 1894 Constitution introduced a new concept for transparency that required a 3 day waiting requirement on legislation before final passage in order to secure public comment and prevent last-minute amendments or hasty and careless legislation.  In order to provide for rapid legislation in the face of a public emergency an exception was included for those instances where the Governor certified the necessity of immediate passage.  

However based on the ongoing abuse of the message of necessity the Constitutional Convention of 1915 proposed an outright ban though it was unfortunately defeated by the electorate.  

The Constitutional Convention of 1938, which was adopted, required the inclusion of "facts [that] necessitate an immediate vote" though this amendment has failed to stem the abuses it sought to address.

Unfortunately upon judicial review in 1972-3 and again in 2005-6, challenges to the abuse of the message of necessity have failed with the judiciary's declaration that not only is the message of unassailable but that it is not subject to judicial review.  

See Interesting Judicial History and Quotes from Chief Judge Judith Kaye Here.

On January 14th, 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo used a Message of Necessity to force legislators to vote on his gun legislation.

The NY SAFE Act amended the following laws:

  1. correction law
  2. criminal procedure law
  3. domestic relations law
  4. education law
  5. executive law
  6. family court act
  7. general business law
  8. judiciary law
  9. Kendra's Law
  10. mental hygiene law
  11. penal law
  12. surrogate's court procedure act

On March 14, 2012 during a marathon legislative session that stretched into the early morning hours of march 15, 2012 Governor Andrew Cuomo declared four "emergencies" using his power to circumvent the three day transparency requirement with the "message of necessity".  Below are copies of the four messages of necessity:

Independent Redistricting Legislation

Tier VI Pensions

 DNA Database Teacher Evaluations




§14. No bill shall be passed or become a law unless it shall have been printed and upon the desks of the members ... at least three calendar legislative days prior to its final passage, unless the governor ... shall have certified ... the facts which in his or her opinion necessitate an immediate vote thereon,* in which case it must nevertheless be upon the desks of the members in final form, not necessarily printed, before its final passage ...

*Amended 1938.

Times Union
Rick Karlin
Monday, January 14, 2013
 Assembly GOP Minority Leader Brian Kolb is on the House floor and he’s railing against the Message of Necessity that Gov. Andrew Cuomo would need to sign in order to get a gun control package through tonight, which is looking increasingly...
Link to Original Source - Link to Cached Version
Karen Dewitt
Monday, July 30, 2012
 Governor Cuomo began his term in office promising that he would run one of the most transparent and open governments in state history. But, eighteen months into his term, news stories relating to Governor Cuomo’s perceived lack of...
Link to Original Source - Link to Cached Version
Daily News
Celeste Katz
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
  Gov. Cuomo, during a meeting this morning with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, told the leaders he will not be giving any messages of necessity that would let them vote on bills before they aged the...
Link to Original Source - Link to Cached Version
Capital Tonight
Nick Reisman
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aides are clearly unhappy with Monday’s Q-poll that included what they say is a leading question on transparency.The question was worded this way:“Governor Andrew Cuomo and the leaders of the Senate Republican and...
Link to Original Source - Link to Cached Version
Times Union
Jimmy Vielkind
Thursday, April 5, 2012
ALBANY — While voters' love affair with Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues, a poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University struck a note of concern: 76 percent of those surveyed are bothered by a lack of transparency...
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Post Star
Editorial Board
Sunday, March 18, 2012
 Gov. Cuomo has proved he can get things done, but it is more often than not ugly, backroom wheeling and dealing with no attempt to gauge the will of the people.
Link to Original Source - Link to Cached Version
The Record
Editorial Board
Sunday, March 18, 2012
 They would be the majority in the Assembly and the Senate, the people who drew up the most distorted set of election district lines since the original effort by Elbridge Gerry and who managed to then dangle these as bait and got Gov. Andrew Cuomo...
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Democrat and Chronicle
Editorial Board
Saturday, March 17, 2012
 Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York’s legislative leaders reached a grand deal last week that settled a number of complex and controversial issues, for which they deserve due credit. But they did it absent any public debate, for which they do not...
Link to Original Source - Link to Cached Version



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