Smith on Conference Committees
March 12th, 2009

The Senate Majority has always intended to hold conference committees as part of this years budget process, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith said in a recent statement. Smith’s statement reinforces what Smith’ s spokesperson told the Gazette yesterday. However, it is still uncertain whether both houses will participate in the committees and how many there will be. Dan Weiller, spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, did not comment but pointed to comments made by Silver earlier today.

There is likely to be more consensus among Democrats in the Assembly than there is in the Senate. Conference committees are normally used to sort through, and come to agreement on budget proposals from both houses. This year, because the Democrats control both houses, the leaders say they are going to hash out budget agreements amongst themselves, rather than put forward individual house proposals.

The issue of Rockefeller Drug Law reform, which was moved into the budget discussion by Smith, will likely be discussed in a Senate conference committee.

Some advocates say the move to do away with committees not only decreases transparency but could be illegal. Capitol Confidential has the section of the Budget Reform Law that would apply and Irene Jay Liu thinks that skipping conference committees would not actually be illegal–just as Silver earlier asserted.

By on March 12, 2009, 3:16 pm
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