Albany, NY, Jul 16, 2009 — The New York state Senate worked into the wee hours to pass a series of reforms that lawmakers say will change the way the chamber operates. The legislation approved early this morning is supposed to reduce the power of Senate leaders and strengthen the influence of rank-and-file lawmakers.
Senators reached an agreement on how to distribute pork barrel spending. They passed a bill that will give minority Republicans $8 million of $85 million in so-called member item grants. The rest goes to the Democrats who control the chamber. The new reforms also apply 8-year term limits to Senate leaders and committee leaders, and they make it easier for senators to bring bills to a vote. But skepticism remains. Martha Foley has more.