ALBANY—The State Senate's bipartisan Temporary Committee on Rules Reform and Administration voted, with Republicans abstaining, to adopt a report calling for several reforms of the chamber.
"I'm disappointed, to tell you the truth," State Senator John Bonacic, the Republican co-chairman of the committee, said. "We've made turtle steps, and we can go brag about it in the perception and the pandering game. But to truly change the culture of Albany, we're not there yet."
He and other Republicans
voted against abstained from voting for the draft report because, they said, they only received it this morning and didn't have adequate time to review its findings. Democrats said that the time to "move the ball down the field," as State Senator Daniel Squadron put it, is now. They noted public hearings have taken place on this issue.
Bonacic said. "I'd rather we be together. I'd rather we not have this polarization. The members around this table, in their hearts, do not want partisanship or polarization."
Democrats said this was a significant first step.
"This is an extraordinary time and an extraordinary day," State Senator Andrea-Stewart Cousins said. She noted that the report's first recommendation was that the work of the committee continue, and further reforms be considered. "Hopefully we will go forward earnestly and collectively."
The report's recommendations, before they are adopted, must go to a full vote of the Senate. Good-government groups, and others, had hoped this could be done in a bipartisan way, but that's looking less likely now. That, however, won't prevent the report from passing.