2005 Legislative Session Had Ups And Downs, Mostly Ups Op—ed
While I’m not quite ready to start singing “Ding, Dong, The Most Dysfunctional State Legislature In The Nation Is Dead,” I am happy to say that this has been one of the more productive legislative sessions I’ve witnessed. It ended on Friday, June 24.
We did the job we were elected to do by passing a state budget on time for the first time in 21 years, and I hope we will soon have new laws on the books to provide tough new oversight of public authorities and require greater disclosure of lobbying activity. These steps are vital to restoring the public’s faith in our government. In addition, the legislature came to agreement on important bills to better protect consumers from identity theft, help New Yorkers comparison shop for prescription drugs on-line, require hospitals to report their inpatient infection rates, crack down on drunk drivers, and finally get us on the road to complying with the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA).
Some of these bills aren’t perfect. I would have preferred, for example, that the HAVA legislation require that one type of new voting machine be used statewide, instead of leaving voting machine purchasing decisions up to the individual counties. In addition, I am disappointed that a number of other vital issues went unresolved. In the near future, I hope that we will be able to build on our record of progress by coming to an agreement on ways to better protect our children from sex offenders, provide adequate coverage for mental health treatment, ensure more equitable funding for New York City schools and take the politics out of our legislative redistricting process.
Without question, we made some great achievements this year. I only hope that these accomplishments will help to provide future momentum for addressing other, equally important issues.
State Senator George Onorato (D) represents Long Island City and Astoria in the 12th Senate District