Town of Gallatin resolution opposing frivolous use of messages of necessity


WHEREAS, the Town board of Gallatin has long advocated for due process and careful and deliberate consideration of all legislative acts, in particular those which are controversial or have far reaching consequences; and

WHEREAS, the bedrock of the United States of America and its Constitutional form of government is its formation as a nation of law with due process and deliberation; and

WHEREAS, the New York State Constitution recognizes the need of due process, careful deliberation, and transparency in government by declaring that except in times of emergency, “no bill shall be passed or become a law unless it shall have been printed and upon the desks of the members, in its final form, at least three calendar legislative days prior to its final passage”; and

WHEREAS, the New York State Constitutional Conventions of 1915 and 1938 foresaw the danger of Indiscriminate use of messages of necessity, the 1915 convention proposing an outright ban on messages of necessity, and the 1938 convention amending the constitution to require the Governor to certify the facts of the emergency and noting, “ it is the hope of the members of the committee that if the Governor is required to certify facts which in his opinion constitute an emergency, it will not fall into a pro forma signing of a printed message…” and

WHEREAS, the use of messages of necessity has sadly indeed become a pro forma  convention used to cut short debate and pass controversial legislation in direct contravention to the spirit of the New York State Constitution; and

WHEREAS, messages of necessity have  been used over 1,200 times since 1995, including 29 times by Governor Cuomo in 2011, 23 times by Governor Spitzer in 2007, and 34 times by Governor Pataki in 2005; and

WHEREAS, messages of necessity have been used to pass controversial legislation such as the Redistricting  Statute, the Tier VI Pensions, DNA Database, Teacher Evaluations, and Same Sex Marriage; and

WHEREAS, the Teacher Evaluation act has become a burden and unfunded mandate on local schools, and it seem to many that the end result will be more paperwork and less time for teaching; and

WHEREAS, the Same Sex Marriage act has been recognized to infringe on religious liberties and individual’s consciences, and causes a reduction in needed services when religious organizations are forced by law to stop providing a service or violate their conscience.

RESOLVED, The Town Board of Gallatin, declares that the messages of necessity are in the majority of cases not used in times of true emergency, and are therefore used frivolously and in contravention to the spirit of the New York State Constitution; and

RESOLVED, That this legislative body calls upon Governor Cuomo and his successors to only issue messages of necessity in times of true emergency; and calls upon the New York State Senate and Assembly to reject messages of necessity unless there is truly an emergency, and in such cases place a brief sunset provision on the bill in question so that a full debate can be held when the emergency is past; and

RESOLVED, That the Clerk of this Legislative Body is hereby directed to transmit certified copies of this resolution to U.S Senator Charles Schumer, U. S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, U. S. Representative Chris Gibson, Governor Andrew Cuomo, State Senator Kathy Marchione, and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett.

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