Common Cause/NY + Candidates for Brooklyn Senate District: "Legislature Must Resume Session Remotely"
30+ days since lawmakers have met remotely, only ten days of session remain
NEW YORK, NY (05/08/2020) (readMedia)-- Jabari Bisport and Jason Salmon, two candidates for NY Senate District 25, and Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY held a virtual press conference calling on the legislature to resume session remotely. All candidates were invited. The Albany Times Union, the New York Times, the Buffalo News, and Daily Gazette have all published editorials urging New York state lawmakers to step up and continue to legislate remotely post-budget.
The New York Legislature has not met remotely since voting on the budget in early April, allowing Governor Cuomo to rule by executive order, changing 262 laws in 55 days according to the Albany Times Union. New York City Council Members Lander, Menchaca, Cumbo, and Cornegy, who represent parts of SD 25, on the other hand, have all attended at least five remote hearings and passed legislation remotely in the last two weeks.
"New Yorkers have gone without representation on the state level since early April, allowing Cuomo to govern by executive order. Meanwhile, City Council members are holding hearings and passing legislation remotely, and serving as a democratic check on the Mayor. Public service is a matter of moral leadership, and New Yorkers need our elected legislators to step up and do their jobs by legislating remotely," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.
"I'm definitely concerned with the erosion of democracy in our state during this pandemic, from the consolidation of power in the executive branch to the temporary cancellation of the presidential primary. Our democratic norms are meant to protect us, and putting them aside for expediency in a time of crisis will come back to haunt us when this is over," said Jabari Brisport, candidate for Senate District 25.
"COVID-19 has torn through our communities and exposed the gaping holes and glaring inequality that this country has been built on. As advocates and community leaders, we need to use all the tools we have to fight for the lives of New Yorkers. We elected representatives to ensure that every member of our community has a voice in government. But while Governor Cuomo is allowed to rule our state via executive order, those voices have been muffled. In a time of unprecedented crisis we demand our lawmakers resume session and get back to work advocating for the rights and safety of our neighbors," said Jason Salmon, candidate for Senate District 25.
Common Cause/NY has held press conferences with lawmakers, advocacy groups, service providers, and tech experts on the need and ability for the Legislature to continue functioning as a co-equal branch of government.