Albany lawmakers call for changes when legislation hits Capitol floor

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State assembly members called for a revolution at the Capitol on Thursday wanting fairness in the houses.

Lawmakers said leaders at the top have too much power. The assembly minority and a mother from Central New York came to the Capitol to call out top lawmakers saying change needs to happen, and it needs to happen now.

“Mind you, we had just buried our daughter, and we had a trial coming up,” Janice Greishaber-Geddes said.

Greishaber-Geddes’ daughter was murdered in Alabny in 1997 by a man who was on parole.

“So after months of heartbreaking work, at a time in in our lives that was the most tragic traumatic time we will ever experience, we were let down,” she said.

For months, Greishaber-Geddes fought to pass legislation in her daughter’s name that would end parole for first-time violent felons. She said she brought 22,000 signatures to then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and had overwhelming support from lawmakers for the bill.

“We knew it would pass,” Greishaber-Geddes said. “We had 130 people who supported it; assembly members who supported it.”

Silver told Greishaber-Geddes the bill would be put on the floor the last day of the session and at the close of session but nothing happened.

“At eleven o’clock at night, we got a message from Sheldon Silver that he was not going to let it out for a vote,” Greishaber-Geddes said.

Almost a year after the murder, Jenna’s Law finally passed. But Greishaber-Geddes said power needs to be fairly distributed at the Capitol.

“Why did we have to go through all of that?” she positioned. “Because one person holds the reigns. One person has the power. I don’t care if he’s republican or democrat. There is no fairness in that.”

Assembly minority leaders agree and are now calling for lawmakers to pass the Spirit of ’76 bill. It states, “If a piece of legislation has sponsorship from 76 assembly members and 32 members in the senate, regardless of party affiliation, it bypasses committees and will go right to debate and vote in the chambers.”

“We have to empower ourselves as rank and members,” Assemblyman Jim Tedisco said. “The majority should rule, but it shouldn’t be just the majority of 76 democrats because they have 104.”

The bill was formally introduced this week; therefore, a committee will be assigned to the bill.

Tedisco’s office said he will be asking for the public to contact their representatives to help push the bill forward.

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