A new day in Albany begins with Senate rules

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A truly functional legislature that actually resembles a democracy does not operate this way; not even the partisanship-racked Congress. Instead, individual members can bring bills to the floor for a vote if a majority supports it. Rank-and-file lawmakers can petition committees to hold hearings on legislation they favor. Any proposal that goes to the floor first receives a full vetting at a public hearing, so stakeholders and the public can weigh in rather than having legislation passing in the dark of night with little or no scrutiny.

If New Yorkers want to gauge whether a new day has arrived in the State Senate, the first vote it takes ought to be a harbinger of things to come. If the rules are largely the same as in the past, the only change will be that Skelos and Klein will administer the chokehold on issues on which the public has long been clamoring for action.

Alex Camarda is the director of public policy and advocacy for the Citizens Union of the City of New York, a nonpartisan organization that promotes good government and advances political reform in the city and state.

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