Governing Is The Art Of Compromise Not Complaining

Perhaps legislators in Albany should consider playing dodgeball, “Duck, duck, goose” or any other game your typical kindergartner would play during recess.

Legislating is proving far too difficult.

The idea had been floated recently that perhaps the state Senate should end its session early after the departure of Sen. Tom Croci, a Long Island Republican, to serve his duty in the Navy reserve. The thinking was that a 31-31 tie in the Senate would make it too difficult for anything to get done. We truly believed that argument was hogwash until a week ago, when Republicans blocked votes on Democrat-supported legislation to expand abortion rights in the state by cancelling the day’s list of bills to be considered and ending the day’s session. Democrats retaliated by declining to support a Republican-backed measure involving concussion protocols for private schools.

Both actions are the legislative equivalent of picking up your toys and going home.

We were glad to see work resumed earlier this week with the Senate passing several bills Monday, including one intended to crack down on motorists who drive under the influence of synthetic marijuana or other illicit, lab-created drugs, but the games and bellyaching were far from over.

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans used Senate rules to get Democrats to override a veto by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, providing more money for school districts that don’t have full-day kindergarten to implement full-day programs before then sidestepping debate on amendments for abortion and contraceptive rights that Democrats said they had been promised.

One can’t blame Democrats in the chamber for feeling duped. Republicans won the day, but doing so probably cost them any votes on other legislation for the rest of the sesson. Conversely, Democrats had to know pushing certain Republican hot buttons would push Republicans into such gamesmanship.

The result is likely gridlock for the rest of the session.

It’s unfortunate, because we refuse to believe that every issue that could come before the Senate between now and the end of the session on June 20 is a strictly partisan issue. Do you mean to tell us that every Democrat thinks marijuana should be legalized? Does every Republican abhor sports betting? If that’s the case, millions of dollars of taxpayer money can be saved by cutting the size of the state Senate to one Republican and one Democrat and simply flipping a coin on each piece of legislation.

Governing is the art of compromise, not the art of sending out a snotty news release when things don’t go your way. And, if there is truly no hope of getting any work done, perhaps state senators should return to their districts. There are probably a few days of kindergarten left. Perhaps they’ll learn how to play nicely with others — or at least enjoy a nice game of Red Rover.