Bill from Sen. Griffo aimed at limiting members’ time in leadership positions approved in state Senate
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 9:42 am

A bill approved in the state Senate would limit Senators and Assembly members to 12 years in major leadership positions, and committee chairs to eight years.

The bill, sponsored by 47th District Sen. Joe Griffo (R-Rome), passed by a vote of 56 to 5 on Tuesday.

Griffo represents includes Massena, Brasher, Norfolk, Stockholm, Potsdam, Pierrepont, Russell, Clifton, Fine and Pitcairn.

The bill was approved in the Senate by a similar margin last year.

It would limit the tenure of the temporary president, speaker and minority leaders to 12 years. It would limit the tenure of any committee chair to eight years, with the exception of the Rules Committee.

“This is the first step in building a better system of government,” said Griffo.

“I appreciate and respect the individuals who serve as leaders. But we know that the longer that a person is in power, the less open and transparent our governing becomes. The indefinite term of leadership gives that position great power and influence, which causes some legislators to act unethically in an attempt to ‘climb the ladder’ or make their power as great as a leader. Imposing term limits will diminish the position and empower many to bring to fresh ideas and fresh approaches to governing.”

The Senate is leading by example, having incorporated this bill into the rules for its chamber, Griffo said.

The companion bill, A.7026, now awaits action in the Assembly.

Griffo’s announcement included a list of “his other bills to reform Albany” since arriving in 2007:

• S2214: Provides for initiative and referendum and recall, which would foster greater participatory democracy by allowing voters to place proposed laws on the ballot for New Yorkers to adopt or reject; place an already existing law on the ballot for New Yorkers to reject or accept; and place the question of whether to remove and replace a public official on the ballot.

• S2231: Removes the constitutional provision that the lieutenant-governor shall act as governor when the governor is absent from the state

• S3008: Provides for a special election, at the discretion of the governor, to fill vacancies in the office of comptroller and attorney general – empowering the voters to choose the guardian of the state’s pension fund and the state’s chief legal officer, not the Legislature

• S4602: Provides that the Senate shall be composed of 62 senators, each representing 1 county.

Griffo has previously introduced – and will soon reintroduce – a bill that would establish term limits for state elected officials. The limit would be 12 years.