Albany Politics Explained

Albany politics explained….

The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state governmentThe Legislature is the lawmaking branch of state government. It is a bicameral, or two-house, body composed of the Senate and the Assembly. The Lieutenant Governor is the Senate's President. The Assembly is presided over by the Speaker, who is elected from and by the Assembly membership for a two-year term.

 To get a law passed requires a bill to be introduced in the Assembly and a corresponding bill to be introduced in the Senate. Therefore, the best chance for bills to become law is to have the bill introduced by the controlling party in each house.  Most bills go through committees before they are formally introduced on the floor for general discussion and adoption. Bills in the Senate and Assembly on the same topic may still require reconciliation and often compromise before they can become a law. Once a bill is introduced, there are key players that need to be influenced by public opinion. These include the makers of the bills, the Education Chair, the Speaker of the Assembly and the Majority Leader in the Senate.  If a bill is not passed in a legislative session, it will need to be reintroduced in the next session to be considered.

Often it will take many years and several reintroductions before a bill is passed. When a bill is under consideration by the general body of the Senate or Assembly there is usually a limited window of opportunity to influence lawmakers, and it is critical to have your position understood by previous letters or a phone call, fax or email showing your support.

Once the bills are passed in both houses, there may be final work before the proposed law is forwarded to the Governor for his signature. The Governor has three options when the proposed law is forwarded to him: sign it, veto it or do nothing within the 10-day period after it is submitted. This “do nothing” approach is called a “pocket veto” and kills the law. Therefore, a public show of support may be needed to get the Governor to sign the bill into law.

Excerpt from NYS PTA Resource Guide_Advocacy