Hundreds of New Yorkers rallied in Albany on Wednesday to urge the New York Senate to enact campaign finance reform legislation, including public financing for state candidates. But while the State Assembly has already passed a reform bill, the Senate’s governing coalition has yet to bring forward a bill with less than a month left in session.
Though Democrats outnumber Republicans in the 63-member New York State Senate, the body is controlled by a coalition of Republicans and the five-member Independent Democrat Conference (IDC). Under their power-sharing agreement, the Republican and IDC leaders jointly decide what legislation comes to the floor.
A stunning number of New York State Senators have, in recent years, been charged with ethical violations. While both the Democratic conference and the IDC have proposed comprehensive campaign finance reform bills, the Republicans have thus far opposed any such efforts. Earlier this month, Republican Leader Dean Skelos actually called the proposals “a recipe for political corruption.”
Charlie Albanetti, communications director for Citizen Action of New York, told ThinkProgress, “The IDC made a commitment when they broke away that they’d use this opportunity to make sure progressive legislation is passed. The Assembly has passed legislation, it’s on the IDC and Republicans to do what the majority of New Yorkers indicated they want and they deserve.”