WNYT.com

Republican legislators want to curtail messages of necessity

Posted at: 02/05/2013 9:53 AM
Updated at: 02/05/2013 5:55 PM
By: Mark Mulholland

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin of Melrose was among about two dozen legislators criticizing the rush to bring New York's gun bills to a vote.

"And we're told basically to shut up and vote and that's what this is all about. Just don't question it. Just vote."

McLaughlin compared the Governor's push to get the vote done just hours after it was unveiled, to a dictatorship.

That's basically the message here. If that's not dictatorial, I don't know what is. Hitler would be proud. Mussolini would be proud of what we did here," he said.

McLaughlin was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League, who called the remarks "deeply offensive. He later apologized, saying, he let his "passion overcome" him.

His comments overshadowed the legislators' push to end early morning votes by halting all activity between midnight and 8. And they want to limit the Governor's use of "messages of necessity"--- to what they call "genuine emergencies"---threats to security or natural disasters. Governors use messages of necessity when they want to waive the typical three day waiting period for a bill to be voted on.

Ron Seyb, a professor of government at Skidmore College, says executives have used powers such as messages of necessity for hundreds of years.

"There is a long tradition of democratic executives going back to the founding of this country, having latitude when it comes to taking action which they think is necessary."

In his message, Cuomo said "some weapons are so dangerous" that the state needed to act "without delay" to ban them.

The legislators' bill calls for a two-thirds majority before taking up any message of necessity. The governor's office didn't respond Tuesday to requests for comment.