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New York State Legislative History Research: Brennan Center Report

This guide is intended to help researchers locate print and online sources for New York State Legislative History Research.

Brennan Center for Justice

In July 2004 the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School issued a stinging ninety page report on the problems with the New York State Legislature and rated it the least deliberative and most dysfunctional in the nation.

The title of the report was "The New York State Legislative Process: An Evaluation and Blueprint for Reform," by Jeremy M. Creelan and Laura M. Moulton.

Some of the highlights of the report are:

  • While an extraordinary number of bills are introduced in both houses each year, only a fraction of those bills receive a floor vote and are enacted.
  • In both chambers, the leadership maintains a stranglehold on the flow of legislation at all stages of the legislative process.
  • Committee meetings are infrequent and sparsely attended.
  • Standing committees infrequently hold hearings on proposed legislation.
  • Committees rarely issue detailed reports on legislation.
  • Floor debates on major legislation are infrquently held.

In 2006 and 2008 updates to the original report were issued and these updates found that the same problems still plague the New York State legislature.  Lists of the problems and possible solutions are included in both updates.