"Under the new rules, lawmakers must be in their seats and push a button marked 'yea' or 'nay' to have their votes recorded. So it was that Assemblyman Sam Hoyt of Buffalo had a captive audience when he spoke against extending an extra 1% sales tax in Erie County, on the grounds that his cash-strapped city would see none of the revenue. In previous years, Hoyt's plea had reverberated in a half-empty chamber, and the bill sailed through on the strength of automatic 'yes' votes. But this time, his colleagues had to pay attention. And whaddya know? They listened. And pushed the nay button. At one point, Hoyt says, there were 79 'no' votes, enough to defeat the bill - something that never happens on the Assembly floor. Silver and his deputies swung into action, twisted arms and managed to switch enough Democrats back to 'yes' to pass the tax extension by an unusually close vote of 79 to 67. Still, it was bracing to see the backbenchers, who normally clop along contentedly in harness, take the bit in their teeth even for a few minutes. 'We did a reform that has the potential to rock the boat a little bit,' Hoyt says. 'All of a sudden, the rank and file matter.' Maybe they will, maybe they won't. It depends on whether they have the courage to stand up for what they believe when they're called on to actually, physically cast a vote. "And just to be clear: the vote was on the already existing "temporary" penny; not on the Giambra penny.
Democracy? In ALBANY?
Too bad this is in the New York Daily News and not in the BUFFALO News: