More Brodsky follies
Astonishingly, nobody else out there in ProgBlogLand has done anything more with that Brodsky apologia of the Assembly in last Sunday's New York Times. That's odd, because the short article is a condensed, creamy, buttery, oh-so-rich and oh-so-good concoction of considerable comedic potential.
Take, for example, this short paragraph:
This country is a beacon of liberty not because of steamrolling chief executives, but because of legislatures that limit their power. Reform in Albany requires a credible, independent and active Legislature that can challenge the governor, improve or stop his proposals and protect the system of checks and balances that define a democracy.
...and contrast it with this from the Brennan Center blog (the folks at the Brennan Center are the ones who describe Mr. Brodsky's beacon of liberty as the most dysfunctional legislature in America):
Unfortunately, it seems that the Assembly Majority is not committed to creating a more responsive, deliberative, accessible, accountable, and efficient legislative process. Members may boo when the Assembly is called dysfunctional, but it's hard to see how the epithet isn't still deserved.
Concretely, Brodsky and his fellows in the beacon of liberty that is the Assembly voted down:
E230, a bill that would have allowed rank-and-file members to force a committee hearing on a bill.
E234 would have required a transcript of all committee meetings, to be made available to the public. That would be a two-fold advance; currently, not only are the transcripts not public, but there are no transcripts unless a committee decides they're required.
E243 would have given each member of the Assembly the chance to choose one of his or her bills during each two-year term and have that bill brought to the floor for a vote on its merits.
E 228 would have required that the Assembly Committee on Conference Committees, which was created in the last round of reforms in 2005 meet at least once before the end of the legislative session.
E 241 would have made sure that members of the minority receive resources, such as staff and funding, proportional to their numbers.
There's more, but those seem to be the highlights. Brodsky's quasi-Athenian noble dream of "democracy" doesn't even include public transcripts of committee hearings, or letting members bring stuff up for a "vote". But I'm sure the good man is still utterly mystified why his "legislature" just can't seem to get any respect.