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Monday, June 16, 2014

State Sen. George Maziarz
ALBANY — State Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, voted in opposition to four-year terms for members of the state Legislature last week.

The bill, S725A, proposed extending the term of legislators from two to four years. Sponsored by state Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, it passed the Senate by a vote of 40-18 with three members not voting. With its passage, it was delivered to the Assembly for their consideration in the next legislative session. If the Assembly approves the bill, it would then need to be approved by state voters before taking effect.

The bill actually proposes two four-year terms followed by a two-year term in order to allow for easier redistricting in census years.
The legislation specifically provides for a four-year legislative term, except that in all legislative terms that commence immediately following a decennial census year the term will be shortened to two years. This provision addresses those situations where an elected official's term could be interrupted with district changes in the midst of a term as a result of redistricting.
Proponents of the bill state that it allows elected legislators more time to govern because it will require less time campaigning.

Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY, said, "The current system keeps lawmakers in perpetual campaign mode. It seriously limits their ability to identify and become knowledgeable about the issues, which will most directly impact their constituents."

She also said the bill would offer a savings to state taxpayers through reduced election costs.

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