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TO: Senate Colleagues

FROM: Senator Daniel Squadron
DATE: January 11, 2011
RE: Senate Rules

As the 2011 legislative session gets underway and we tackle the important issues facing our state, we
must pass Senate rules that include the important reforms from the previous session, and incorporate
some new ones. There is no question that turning back on the progress made last session would be a
terrible disservice to our constituents. And, last session, many of us on both sides of the aisle agreed
that we should go even farther. I hope you will join me in ensuring the following provisions are
included in our new rules.

We must maintain these reforms from our previous rules:

The ability to bring bills to the floor without leadership approval, through the Petition (38
Senators) or Motion (32 Senators) for Chamber Consideration (Rule XI; §§ 2-3).
Stronger committee process: the Motion for Committee Consideration -- making it easier for bill
sponsors to get their bills considered in committee (Rule VII § 3(b)(3)); committee membership
proportional to each Conference’s representation in the Senate as a whole (Rule VII); and
committee chairs and ranking members hiring their own committee staff, independent of
leadership (procedural).
Equitable distribution of resources to member offices, and equal access to the resources of the
Senate, including office supplies, communications and audio visual resources, mail privileges,
technology, and bill drafting (Rule IX § 9).
Permission for any member to sponsor any bill, regardless of party (Rule VI, § 2).
Requirement that non-sponsor (hostile) amendments be either accepted by a bill’s sponsor, and
thus immediately adopted on the floor, or, if not accepted, voted on by the full Senate (VIII, § 4).

And implement further reforms that have had bipartisan support:

Require only 32 Senators, instead of 38, for a Petition for Chamber Consideration to get a bill to
the floor for a full Senate vote.
Require equal division of office resources among all members, regardless of party, to ensure
adequate constituent services in every district.
Further improve the committee process: consolidate committees and ensure that Senators do not
serve on more than five standing committees; eliminate the ability to vote aye without
recommendation and eliminate proxy voting; require committee votes on whether to conduct bill
mark-ups as well as detailed memos for all bills reported from committees; and ensure that chairs
and ranking members have full power to hire and fire staff.
Make committee budgets and member staff allocations completely transparent and published on
the Senate website.
Require Senate leadership to request conference committees to reconcile similar bills passed in
both the Senate and the Assembly, including budget bills.
Reform the member item process.