A year after he joined briefly forces with Republicans, leading to a total paralysis of the Legislature, Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. wants new reforms.
Espada, honoring the anniversary of the coup, issued a statement this afternoon that trumpeted the effects of what he simply described as “Albany reform.”
“The so-called coup is greatly exaggerated. It was a name for the headlines. The fact is, Albany reform was not pursued surreptitiously. It was not a power play, but rather born out of the need to empower the Latino population with long overdue representation in the highest ranks of state government, and to spread the power among all 62 senators for the benefit of the state’s 19.5 million residents. Furthermore, it was achieved lawfully within the U.S. Constitution and Senate rules.”
It is true that the Senate Democrats adopted a set of reforms when they eventually brought Mr. Espada back into their fold a month later (and gave him the title of Majority Leader), although the event will probably be remembered in history for the new meaning of dysfunction that it came to define, as well as the lack of an end to the legislative session — when a disproportionate number of bills are passed.
Mr. Espada went on to call for new reforms, including independent redistricting. From the statement:
“The Senate made a quantum leap in structural and procedural reforms, but we still have a long way to go as a legislative body in terms of budget, ethics, discretionary funding and redistricting reforms,” Espada admitted. “We need to support things like a special independent redistricting commission to draw the lines for state legislative districts.”
The full statement is here.