December 29, 2004

Lifton replies on empty-seat voting

Assemblywoman Lifton wrote back to my earlier letter on empty-seat voting. I find her reply much more promising than Senator Seward's reply - she doesn't try to defend the practice, and suggests that she's actually taking steps to reduce it:

I am opposed to empty seat voting. The current Assembly rules prohibit empty-seat voting, stating that members must be within the bar of the Assembly chamber in order to have their vote recorded. I, personally, have always followed that rule, and am usually in my seat both during fast roll calls and slow roll call votes.

It has become apparent to me through the recent discussions that some members have abused this rule, leaving the chamber area to go to their offices in the adjoining building or even to leave the legislative complex entirely. In our recent caucus meetings on reform issues, I urged that this rule be strictly enforced, as it should be. As part of the Steering Committee's current overhaul of the rules, I expect that we will be adopting a new rule on this matter that will clarify and strengthen this current requirement.

I've scanned the Assemblywoman's full response, and you can read it in clearer (49KB PDF) or text-selectable (67KB PDF) versions.

Posted by simon at December 29, 2004 12:38 PM in ,
Note on photos