ALBANY, N.Y. - Fallout continues from New York's new controversial gun control legislation.
On Tuesday, it had the makings of your typical press conference, legislators standing together calling for change, but the anger was almost palpable and more than a dozen Republican state lawmakers wasted no time criticizing Governor Andrew Cuomo for speeding up the process in passing the New York SAFE Act.
Governor Cuomo issued a message of necessity to sidestep the three days a bill needs to age. While it has been used by other governors in the past, some legislators say Cuomo uses it to get what he wants.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin expressed his opinion, saying "he's acting like a dictator in my opinion."
McLaughlin took his opinion a step further by saying "We're told basically just to shut up and vote and that's what this is all about, don't question it, just vote. 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. Moscow would be proud, but that's not democracy."
He apologized for his remark Tuesday afternoon. "Today, in the heat of the moment, I let my passion overcome me and made an insensitive remark that has overshadowed a serious matter regarding democracy in New York State. I used a poor analogy and have called Governor Cuomo to apologize," McLaughlin said in a statement. McLaughlin represents the 107th district in Rensselaer, Columbia and Washington Counties.
To ensure the democratic process prevails, the group of legislators drafted a bill called the "New York State Government Transparency Act," a constitutional amendment that would stop legislative proceedings from happening after midnight and limit messages of necessity to genuine emergencies.
McLaughlin's statement continued saying:
"When Governor Cuomo ran for office, he promised that New York would have the most open and transparent government in the nation. While we've made great progress on a number of critical issues over the past two years, far too many bills have been rammed through in the dark of night before New Yorkers had a chance to make their voice heard. We can and we must do better, for all New Yorkers.
Issues like gun control, pension reform and criminal tracking are too important to confront without letting New York's families have their say. That's why the NYS Government Transparency Act is so critical; because we must bring a stop to the governor's pattern of taking the people's voice out of state government. New Yorkers deserve better."