Professor Frank Mauro
Government and Politics of NYS
28 February 2018
The Workings of NYS Legislature
In New York State and every other state in America, state governments are comprised of legislatures which are responsible for representing the people and their beliefs. What makes New York stand out from the other 49 is the level of diversity that is present, which is one of the highest in the Nation (Levin). Although this is a major step in promoting equality and giving everyone a voice, it creates a legislature where there are conflicting policy ideas. Districts have to meet their needs to keep their constituents content but, in another town, this will be different because of the people that make it up. Jeffrey Stonecash & Amy Widestrom write why is it essential for the functionality of legislature to have strong leadership in the house. While Eric Lane discusses the unimportance of a “strong leader” in legislature and why it creates more boundaries rather than unifying lawmakers. These two opposing views offer different ways that the New York Legislature should operate and how it should deal when creating policies.
In the opinions of Jeffrey Stonecash & Amy Widestrom, they believe that the task of “leadership is to pull together the diverse members within their parties, and then negotiate with the other house and the governor” (Stonecash). Comparing that with Eric Lane who believes that if leaders are established, then democracy in legislature will become non-existent because lawmakers will not be able to bring their different interest and priorities onto the table. Being able to hear the views of every representative is important to Eric Lane because it allows everyone to contribute different ideas and with that you are able to borrow from one another and put something together where “no one gets everything, and everyone gets something” (Lane). The idea of compromises is key to Lane because they can measure the public interest better than a “system of strong leaders” (Lane). Distinctively, Stonecash and Widestrom believe that strong leadership should be a focal point in legislature in order to bring legislators together to reach policy agreements. There are major positive effects that leadership brings to the legislature like allocating “resources among members, presides over the party conferences, plays a major if not dominant role in setting party strategy, and represents the party in most policy negotiations” (Stonecash and Widestrom). This role allows legislature to work at its maximum level while being highly efficient and working for the people.
Although it sounds as if the leadership has all the power in legislature, most decisions are based on the members wishes. You may ask “why is this power granted to the leadership?” and that is “because the members generally support a significant leadership role in shaping behavior within the legislature” (Stonecash and Widestrom). What this represents is a system where the...