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Why Was The State So Secretive Over Its Slate Of Gun Bills Passed Last Week?

Pardon the pun, but what exactly was the state secret Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leadership were trying to keep from state residents in the run-up to last week’s extraordinary legislative session?

Hochul is a real professional when it comes to talking about transparency. When it comes to actually being transparent, well, she’s much less polished.

Bills usually have to be introduced three days before they can be voted on, with exceptions requiring a message of necessity from the governor to permit a vote. The day before last week’s extraordinary session, not one single piece of legislation had been filed for review by the public or legislators. Even Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown and minority whip, hadn’t seen the bill before he left for Albany to debate the bills. Concerned members of the public both in favor of and against the legislation had no opportunity to read the bills and reach out to their legislator with concerns or to express support. And what was the necessity that prompted Hochul and the Democrats to once again abandon typical legislative procedure?

No matter what Hochul or legislative leadership says, time was not of the essence here. Hochul and Democrats in the legislature read the political tea leaves regarding Roe v. Wade and introduced dozens of abortion-related bills with plenty of tie to be approved before the end of the legislative session on June 3. Yet we’re expected to believe they were caught sleeping regarding the Supreme Court’s decision in NYSPRA v. Bruen when even the New York Times noticed Justice Clarence Thomas’ questions during oral arguments of the Bruen case hinted that the state’s concealed carry law may be ruled unconstitutional. The Times wrote about the issue twice in a five-day span in November, yet Hochul and company didn’t have this tide-turning package of legislation ready until after the decision was announced?

That’s hardly believable. At the very least, the session could have been scheduled once the legislation had been finished and filed so that the public and their elected representatives on both sides of the aisle had a chance to review it.

Regardless of one’s stance on the Second Amendment or the state’s conceal carry laws, we should all be able to agree that this process stunk. This level of secrecy should be reserved for nuclear launch codes and, maybe, plot twists for Hollywood productions. But when it comes to legislation that affects people’s constitutional rights, the state owes it to its residents to involve the people’s elected representatives in the process before the day a vote is scheduled. And, when you think about it, Democrats didn’t just shut out Republican legislators from these discussions, they shut out the hundreds of millions of state residents who elected those Republican legislators.

In other words, they aren’t just shutting Goodell, Assemblyman Joe Giglio, Sen. George Borrello and the rest of the legislative minority out of these talks. They’re shutting many county residents out of these talks.

In that respect, last week’s extraordinary legislative session was anything but. It was just plain, old, run-of-the-mill New York politics. And it stunk.

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