Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 20, 2013

Cuomo: Legislative bills get in the way

Niagara Gazette — ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo, already haunted by his campaign promise to conduct the most transparent administration in history, now says even legislative bills get in the way of legislating in Albany.

Last week's comment was an extraordinary admission of strategy.

To some, it showed Albany was sinking far deeper into the secretive government and closed-door dealing that protects politicians while keeping New Yorkers in the dark until a bill is law. For Cuomo, it's the way to get the biggest things done, like the rushed, closed-door process for two of his biggest measures, legalization of gay marriage in 2011 and a sweeping gun control law this year.

"Normally when we release bill language before an agreement, the probability of that bill passing is very, very low," Cuomo chuckled in telling reporters Tuesday. "Bill language to put forth specifics, when you don't have an agreement, in my experience polarizes the parties. It makes it harder to come to agreement because you push people into their respective corners."

He said agreement in Albany "means every person has to feel that they were part of the solution and part of the win. When you start quantifying and polarizing, it works against that."

A day after the comments, which many saw as violating good-government precepts enshrined in such disparate places as the constitution and TV's "School House Rock," Cuomo said he was only joking.

"I should have known better than to try to have fun," Cuomo told "The Capitol Pressroom" public radio program. "Some bills ... are just posturing. That was the point I was trying to make."

Yet, Cuomo still won't release his bills.

On April 9, Cuomo proposed an anti-corruption measure in a press conference, releasing only a press release. After The Associated Press noted that, again, Cuomo didn't release his bill publicly, an aide promised the governor would release the bill by the end of that week. It never came.

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