ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — As the clock ticks down to the state’s April 1st budget deadline, Republican lawmakers are once again pushing for a constitutional amendment called the New York State Budget Transparency Act.
In New York, bills are supposed to age for three days, allowing lawmakers and the public an opportunity to review them. In previous years, that method was bypassed during budget season with “a message of necessity” — used to push bills through without that three-day review period. It’s legal, but some lawmakers say it’s “sneaky” including Senator Jim Tedisco. “When we do this budget, I can’t guarantee it, but if you look at history, it is going to be in the middle of the night. And what you’re going to have is our constituents, in the middle of their dreams, hopefully they’re having sweet dreams but we may be about to create a nightmare for them with the budget we’re putting in place,” he said.
Democratic Assembly member Harvey Epstein disagreed, saying there should be no surprises in the final budget. “The Governor released her budget in January, so people have a long time to look at it. We released our One-House budgets in early March…. the final budget bill is 95% a mash of the Senate, the Assembly and the Governor’s budget,” he explained.
Still – GOP lawmakers once again pushing a proposal prohibiting bills from being passed between midnight and 8 a.m. unless two-thirds of the legislature is present, and two-thirds approve a message of necessity. Assembly member John McGowen pointed to some of the states biggest pieces of legislation that were passed overnight. “Redistricting, casino gambling, pension reform, teacher evaluations, the New York SAFE act, these are important pieces of legislation,” said McGowen.
If the budget is not passed on time, state workers would not get paid. The Governor would then have to issue an extender, which is a short-term spending bill that ensures state employees get paid without a full budget in place.