News Coverage on Message of Necessity for Immediate Vote
Transparency For The People, Not For The LobbyistsNick Reisman
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 Assembly Democratic majorities are being criticized for secrecy in negotiating major policy deals, then quickly voting at night on the measures. Do you think these closed-door negotiations were necessary to achieve major policy deals or not?”
Fifty-five percent of those polled answered “no.” And while the survey had the usually high numbers overall for Cuomo, the governor spent some time yesterday answering questions, with his own definition of transparency, namely that he considers open government traveling the state to explain his budget and agenda directly to voters (The great Bill Careycovered the story yesterday for Cuomo’s trip to Syracuse).
Today Director of State Operations Howard Glaser took it a step forward, telling Fred Dicker on Talk-1300 AM that transparency defined as letting bills age for three days is to the benefit of lobbyists and special interests.
The concern is that with bills readily available, unnamed interest groups can raise hell and get finalized deals altered and hold up the process.
The aging process is “kind of an early warning system” for the special interests that dominate Albany, Glaser said.
Glaser added that “nothing would happen” if a radical transparency was put in place.
Cuomo himself previously said last month that state government isn’t supposed to be a “debating society” and that action is required.
Bills are required to age for three days on lawmakers’ desks before they can be voted on. The governor has the power of waiving that process through a message of necessity, a power that Cuomo employed during the mega-deal on March 15, that included the introduction of final Tier Six legislation at 3 a.m.
In December, lawmakers approved an overhaul of the tax code and voted on bills that were printed on paper still warm from the photocopier.
On Dicker’s show, Glaser went on a lengthy defense of the administration’s transparency record, noting the hundreds of events cabinet officials and the governor have held around the state and the public portions of the cabinet meetings.
“It’s a no-brainer that this is a transparent process,” Glaser said. “Transparency for lobbyists — that’s a different story.”