Sunday, April 5, 2015

Message of necessity?

Why is our 2015 New York State budget passed by votes that our governor certified that there are "facts which in his or her opinion necessitate an immediate vote thereon"?

See http://nyconstitution.org/new-york-state-constitution#Article_III_Section_14
[Manner of passing bills; message of necessity for immediate vote]
§14. No bill shall be passed or become a law unless it shall have been printed and upon the desks of the members, in its final form, at least three calendar legislative days prior to its final passage, unless the governor, or the acting governor, shall have certified, under his or her hand and the seal of the state, the facts which in his or her opinion necessitate an immediate vote thereon, in which case it must nevertheless be upon the desks of the members in final form, not necessarily printed, before its final passage; nor shall any bill be passed or become a law, except by the assent of a majority of the members elected to each branch of the legislature; and upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereof shall be allowed, and the question upon its final passage shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the ayes and nays entered on the journal. (Formerly §15. Renumbered and amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; further amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)
Luckily our New York State Senate has a rudimentary API.

See http://civic-data.github.io/laws-of-planet-earth/us/ny/scripts_openlegislation/getdata1.html for an example of what you can do with it.

This script asks for a thousand recent references to "message of necessity".  It seems to be a popular phrase.

See http://www.oswegocountygovernments.com/pages/ny_functions.html

It appears that the "three calendar legislative days" can result in longer than 3 days.  But is the answer to require immediate votes at the discretion of our governor.  

What do you think?

See also https://github.com/civic-data/laws-of-planet-earth/tree/gh-pages/us/ny/scripts_openlegislation for open source relating to this discussion and https://github.com/civic-data/laws-of-planet-earth for a starting point to organize our laws.


See examples of "message of necessity" in only the past few days:


Mon Mar 30 2015 20:00:13 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: S2000C-2015-1427760013000-message of necessity - 3 day message
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S2000C-2015

Mon Mar 30 2015 20:00:13 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: S2004C-2015-1427760013000-message of necessity - 3 day message
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S2004C-2015

Mon Mar 30 2015 20:00:11 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: S4612B-2015-1427760011000-message of necessity - 3 day message
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S4612B-2015

Mon Mar 30 2015 20:00:11 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: S2006B-2015-1427760011000-message of necessity - 3 day message
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S2006B-2015

Mon Mar 30 2015 20:00:10 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: S4610A-2015-1427760010000-message of necessity - 3 day message
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S4610A-2015

Mon Mar 30 2015 20:00:05 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: S2006B-2015-1427760005000-MESSAGE OF NECESSITY - 3 DAY MESSAGE
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S2006B-2015

Mon Mar 30 2015 20:00:07 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: S2004C-2015-1427760007000-MESSAGE OF NECESSITY - 3 DAY MESSAGE
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S2004C-2015

Mon Mar 30 2015 20:00:07 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: S2000C-2015-1427760007000-MESSAGE OF NECESSITY - 3 DAY MESSAGE
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S2000C-2015

Sun Mar 15 2015 20:00:00 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: bill

length: 1
title: Establishes the New York State Terrorist Registry
sponsor: DenDekker
id: A6129A-2015
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A6129A-2015

Mon Mar 30 2015 20:00:05 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: S4612B-2015-1427760005000-MESSAGE OF NECESSITY - 3 DAY MESSAGE
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S4612B-2015

Mon Mar 30 2015 20:00:04 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: S4610A-2015-1427760004000-MESSAGE OF NECESSITY - 3 DAY MESSAGE
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S4610A-2015

Sun Mar 29 2015 20:00:12 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: A3007B-2015-1427673612000-MESSAGE OF NECESSITY - 3 DAY MESSAGE
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A3007B-2015

Sun Mar 29 2015 20:00:12 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: A3009B-2015-1427673612000-MESSAGE OF NECESSITY - 3 DAY MESSAGE
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A3009B-2015

Mon Feb 09 2015 19:00:00 GMT-0500 (EST)

type: bill

length: 1
title: Establishes the New York State Terrorist Registry
sponsor: CROCI
id: S3464A-2015
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S3464A-2015

Sun Mar 29 2015 20:00:07 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: A3009B-2015-1427673607000-message of necessity - 3 day message
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A3009B-2015

Sun Mar 29 2015 20:00:07 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: A3007B-2015-1427673607000-message of necessity - 3 day message
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A3007B-2015

Sun Mar 29 2015 20:00:09 GMT-0400 (EDT)

type: action

id: A3003C-2015-1427673609000-MESSAGE OF NECESSITY - 3 DAY MESSAGE
url: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A3003C-2015




See quotes from 2004 and 1948 and 1918:
Six years of experience have taught me that in every case the reason for the failures of good legislation in the public interest and the passage of ineffective and abortive legislation can be traced directly to the rules. New York State Senator George F. Thompson Thompson Asks Aid for Senate Reform New York Times, Dec. 23, 1918 
Some day a legislative leadership with a sense of humor will push through both houses resolutions calling for the abolition of their own legislative bodies and the speedy execution of the members. If read in the usual mumbling tone by the clerk and voted on in the usual uninquiring manner, the resolution will be adopted unanimously. Warren Moscow Politics in the Empire State (Alfred A. Knopf 1948)

From https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/d/albanyreform_execsum.pdf

Unnecessary “Messages of Necessity.” The New York State Constitution requires that legislators have the opportunity to read and consider a bill for at least three days before voting on its final passage.4 If, however, the Governor certifies in a “message of necessity” requested by the Speaker or Majority Leader that a bill must be voted on immediately, those leaders can pass the bill without allowing the legislators themselves or the public any meaningful opportunity to review it. Far from being reserved for emergencies, the Speaker and Majority Leader use the “message of necessity” EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 5 MIDNIGHT PASSAGE WITHOUT DEBATE: $1.8 BILLION FOR AN ENDORSEMENT Few would argue that health care workers did not deserve a raise in 2002. But whether the legislation to provide those raises should have been debated and reviewed before passage is another story. The Health Care Workforce Recruitment and Retention Act of 2002 provided $1.8 billion in raises for health care workers in SEIU Local 1199. The law was passed after closed-door negotiations among the Governor, Speaker, and Majority Leader. There was no debate, and there were no hearings. The Insurance and Health Committees never saw or voted on the bill. The legislation was passed in the middle of the night, using a message of necessity, without any chance for legislators even to read it. It was widely reported that in exchange for the law’s enactment, then-candidate Governor Pataki received the endorsement of SEIU Local 1199 president Dennis Rivera. Speaker Sheldon Silver’s campaign committee received $281,200 from SEIU Local 1199 and its affiliated hospital association. Majority Leader Bruno’s campaign committee received $230,350. The lesson? When the people’s representatives are left out of the legislative process, the people lose their voice. When the committees of the legislature are bypassed, fundamental public policy concerns, such as the state’s $5 billion budget deficit at the time of this deal, are ignored. And when important laws are enacted without debate or hearings, political deal-making rules the day. frequently to bypass the State’s constitutional aging requirement. From 1997 through 2001, a message of necessity was requested and obtained for at least one chamber’s vote on 26.9% of the major legislation that was passed.