Common Cause/NY Releases Results of Council and Speaker Candidate Survey

For Immediate Release:


March 21, 2013

Susan Lerner, 212-691-6421

Common Cause/NY Releases Results of Council and Speaker Candidate Survey

34 CMs support allowing Paid Sick Time Act, and other bills with majority support to come to a floor vote. 3 out of 5 Speaker candidates support Council rules reform to improve council functioning.

As part of its continuing effort to identify legislative best practices, Common Cause last week surveyed all 51 members of the City Council regarding their position on two questions:

1. Do you believe that the NYC Paid Sick Time Act deserves to receive a vote this session?

2. Do you support developing procedural reforms that would allow bills with strong support to get a vote on the floor?

Common Cause/NY has since received 34 positive responses. The entire survey and all responses have been posted online here:

Similarly, in February Common Cause/NY and the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center sent letters to the prospective candidates for NYC Council Speaker, calling on them to address the over-centralization of power in the Speaker’s office. They include: Inez Dickens, Daniel Garodnick, James Vacca, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Mark Weprin. Whereas CM Vacca and CM Dickens*, have so far offered no response, the remaining candidates are open to Common Cause/NY’s suggestions and have responded in writing thusly:

Councilmember Garodnick response

Councilmember Mark-Viverito response

Councilmember Weprin response

Councilmember Dickens response (*we received CM Dickens response on 3/22/13)

Common Cause/NY has long been critical of the centralization of power within the Speaker’s office, and its deleterious effect on the functioning of democracy. The Paid Sick Time Act is merely an example of a larger problem whereby bills win majority support and either fail to receive a committee hearing, or have a hearing but never received a vote. The Human Rights Project’s New York City Council 2012 Human Rights Report Card, details 7 such bills with 26 or more sponsors (a majority of the Council).