November 1st, 2015

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Guests: Fmr. State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and NYS State Senator Daniel Squadron

Read highlights: Bruno says best way to fix Albany is to scrap one of the houses of the Legislature, go to full-time, expand disclosure, and give legislators large pay increase:

JB: “If we’re talking about the ideal world, you’d have one house in the Legislature and that would be for four year terms. And [legislators] would either be totally full-time and be paid a substantial sum of money similar to a congressional person or it would be totally part-time and every single cent would be reported that they make, where it came from, and then when the votes are taken people could see if there’s a perceived conflict of interest.”

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Behind closed doors, Bruno says he offered major reform to Spitzer:

JB: “I proposed to Eliot Spitzer when he was governor, behind closed doors with two men in a room … “You want to stop everything, corruption and all of the discussion around everything? Make it a full-time legislature. Pay [legislators] enough so that they can earn a decent living and you get decently qualified people to serve. Or make it totally part-time where they disclose every single cent that they earn and then people make judgements on whether or not they have to disqualify themselves when they vote.” He said, “Great idea, Great idea.” I said, “Then you get the Assembly to do it and we’ll do it.” He said, “Oh, that’ll never happen, never happen in a million years.” And he was right.

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Bruno on how to fix “three men in a room”:

JB: “Well, we tried to change the “three men in a room” by having budget reform. We passed [it] in the Senate 10 years in a row until Eliot Spitzer became governor and he got the Assembly to pass it as well. And if that procedure was followed the way it’s intended by law, you’d have a totally open process in terms of governing and there wouldn’t be three people in a room anymore.”

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