The Real UGLY World
There’s a startling message for teachers and students of American government, from Joseph Bruno, the leader of New York state’s Senate. He says, “When I study civics, if I were relating to my civics classes, I would fail as a senator — I’d get an F as a leader — I’d get an F-minus, if there is such a thing. You’ve got to get in the real world.” Apparently, Bruno’s world is real — real ugly.
He’s referring to a recent study about the New York Assembly in Albany. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, “Neither the U.S. Congress nor any other state legislature so systematically limits the roles played by rank-and-file legislators and members of the public in the legislative process.” Worse than Congress? Ouch!
New York is the toughest legislature in the nation to get a bill to the floor, requiring the good graces of the all-powerful Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Bruno. Once a bill is blessed by either king, it’s a different story. Over the five-year period, every single one of 11,474 bills that hit the floor in both chambers were passed.
Wake up, folks. That’s the efficiency of a Saddam Hussein. And less than one percent of these bills passed into law received a public hearing. New Yorkers need a voter initiative process to clean up Albany. The initiative would allow 30 million New Yorkers to overthrow the current junta. How? They could start by imposing term limits.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.