New York Morning Roundup

HEARD AROUND TOWN:

* The drumbeat for public financing pounded loudly on Monday when good government groups and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill visited the Capitol to make the case for campaign finance reform. Republican lawmakers have argued that public financing has not stopped elected officials from abusing the system, but good government leaders believe that it improves the legislative process by reducing the dependency on fund-raising.

“There’s a little concern about the unknown, but I think our experience in Connectiuc is so powerful in terms of liberating candidates from endless dialing for dollars,” Demos executive director Miles Rapoport said. “Ironically, Republicans in Connecticut have been among the strongest supporetrs of the bill. As a minority party they have been at a disadvantage raising money from traditional sources.” Though Senate Republicans remain opposed, Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein may be the most critical voice in determining whether a bill gets to the Senate floor. Klein, whose own proposal contains elements of public financing for state races, announced plans on Monday to launch hearings on campaign finance reform from the end of April through May. “New Yorkers have made one thing very clear—they want serious, top-to-bottom reform of how Albany does business,’ he said.