ALBANY – New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani announced on December 28 that Governor Kathy Hochul had signed their legislation, (S.155), requiring state agencies to make the rule-making process more accessible. The Senate passed this legislation as part of “Sunshine Week,” an annual effort to advocate for greater transparency in government.
“The COVID-19 pandemic taught us the crucial importance of transparency in government,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “We should live up to our progressive ideals and make our government truly accessible to the people it serves. I am glad Governor Hochul shares this belief and signed this legislation.”
“State agencies should be accountable to us but have historically gathered too little input from the public, and done so ineffectively,” said Assembly Member Zohran K. Mamdani. “I am proud that this legislation will implement new ways to allow the public’s voices to be heard in the decision-making process – to help democracy live up to its name.”
The Astoria lawmakers’ legislation creates a 3-year pilot program of six major state agencies – Education, Environmental Conservation, Health, Financial Services, Labor, and Family Assistance – requiring these agencies to hold public hearings anytime they are petitioned by residents. Several other states, including California, Arizona, Idaho, New Hampshire, Illinois, and Utah, have similar requirements for agencies to hold hearings.
Additionally, Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Mamdani’s bill requires these agencies to use innovative techniques to encourage more public participation.