For Immediate Release
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Susan Lehman, 212.998.6318
Brennan Center for Justice Lauds Spitzer State-of-the-State, Calls on Legislature to Clean Its Own House
New York, NY – Today, Michael Waldman, the Executive Director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law applauded Governor Eliot Spitzer’s proposals to reform New Yorks campaign finance, legislative redistricting and ethics laws. While cheering Governor Spitzer and the reforms he proposed, Waldman expressed disappointment at the State legislature for its failure to reform their own rules.
“There hasn’t been much snow in New York this winter, but you could almost feel the ice breaking in Albany today, said Waldman.
There hasn’t been a State of the State speech like this one for as long as anyone can remember. Spitzer went right at the heart of the Albany establishment and laid out a truly breathtaking set of reforms, continued Waldman.
New York has one of the worst campaign finance systems in the country. If we move in the direction the Governor proposed we will have one of the best, said Waldman.
If we follow the Governors lead on redistricting and ethics, New York can be a model of reform not dysfunction. It is tremendously exciting, said Waldman.
Waldman criticized leaders of the Senate and Assembly for failing to adopt any reforms to their legislative rules. With no debate, both houses voted to continue operating under their old rules for the time being minutes before Spitzers speech. The Senate is scheduled to reconsider its rules on January 15th.
There was one sour note today. While the Governor is talking about bold reforms, the legislature voted to operate under the old rules at least for the time being. Lets hope in the days ahead the legislature does its part.
Waldman also praised Spitzers emphasis on protecting low wage workers by strengthening the Department of Labors enforcement of the minimum wage.
New Yorks economy is powered by people who work the hardest for the lowest pay. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and are entitled to receive a fair wage, said Waldman.