Assemblyman Barclay Assemblyman
Will Barclay’s

News from Assemblyman Will Barclay
A Legislative Update

Dear Neighbor,

Constituents contact my office on a daily basis to share their thoughts on state government. The most common themes I hear are that Albany needs to be accountable, ethical, we need to reduce excessive spending and most of all serve the citizens of New York State.

I share these principles and I keep them in mind when I perform my legislative duties. I think about this when I am negotiating the budget, debating legislation, and every time I vote. In this newsletter, I highlight the themes- ethics, responsibility, and accountability.

I hope you find this update informative. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me.

Yours truly,
Will Barclay
Member of the Assembly
124th District
Implementing Reform and Moving Forward

Unfortunately, Albany’s claim to fame has not always been a positive one. Our state Legislature has been labeled as one of the most dysfunctional in the nation and is plagued by a "Three Men in a Room" negotiation process. While I admit it is frustrating at times, it is this frustration that keeps me fighting for change. I am pleased to report that we have made some progress. It is these victories that keep me optimistic and keep me fighting.

Barclay named Ranking Minority Member on Ethics and Guidance Committee

photo "As public officials, legislators must be held to a higher standard. It’s that simple. In this new position, I am responsible for considering the ethics, rules and policies for the Assembly members under investigation and in some situations, enforcing these rules."
-Assemblyman Barclay

Recent Victories:
  • 2007 Ethics Reform Signed into Law: I supported this legislation. This reform bill creates higher standards for public officials and staff; strengthens lobbying reforms; restricts the use of taxpayer financed ads; and closes the "revolving door" by placing restrictions on former legislative employees prohibiting them from directly lobbying the Legislature for two years.

  • Creation of Joint Conference Committees: Oftentimes there are multiple bills addressing the same issue. As you can imagine, this results in additional costs and time. This committee was designed to help "streamline" negotiations to make addressing issues more efficient and effective. I have taken part in several Joint Conference Committees and this has resulted in the passage of several key bills.

  • Increase Public Access: In 2006, the Senate and Assembly legislative sessions began to be televised statewide. This was a step in the right direction and I believe it will lead to greater transparency in government because New Yorkers will be able to directly see their representative debate and vote.

  • Assembly Rules Reform: One of the most significant reform measures we have passed since I have been in the Assembly is requiring legislators to be present in the chamber to vote. Prior to this change, legislators could check in with the clerk and they would automatically be voted in the affirmative whether or not they were in the Legislative Chamber. Now we are required to be in our seat to vote. While this change may seem small, it has made a big impact because now legislators hear the debate, and there have been some instances where the debate has resulted in legislation being taken off the calendar.

photo Assemblyman Barclay remains committed to accessibility and enjoys meeting with constituents in his Albany office.
Legislative Spotlight:
Initiative and Referendum

I am a co-sponsor of Assembly Bill 4360, legislation that would give New Yorkers the power of initiative and referendum. This legislation would enable New Yorkers to have a direct voice in state government by allowing citizens to vote in favor or against new laws, constitutional amendments, as well as repealing existing laws.

Moving Forward:

If we restructure the way business is done in the Legislature, I believe New Yorkers will see a more efficient and responsive government. Often, important bills are not addressed simply because the Assembly Speaker does not want them to come to the floor for a vote. To make the process more democratic and therefore more responsive, there are several proposals I support:

  • Giving more power to rank and file legislators

  • Restructuring committee assignments so committee membership ratios reflect the overall ratio of Majority to Minority members in the Assembly

  • Allowing for a bill to reach the Assembly Floor if it has widespread support

  • Requiring any legislation proposing to spend taxpayers dollars to disclose the fiscal costs before a vote


$4.5 Billion Per Year

Unfortunately, this is not a funding item in the budget or even state aid. It is how much that Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse accounts for annually. To combat this, I have done the following:

photo Assemblyman Barclay listens to testimony at a public hearing.
  • Last September, I held a local round-table discussion with the Onondaga County Executive, Oswego County Administrator and several local legislators to discuss Medicaid fraud in Central New York and how we, on the state level, can assist our local governments to detect fraud.

  • I sponsored legislation reimbursing counties who purchased or will purchase Medicaid fraud detection software.

  • In this year’s budget, I supported an additional $4.8 million in funding for the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General. This will strengthen the Medicaid Inspector General’s ability to investigate and pursue fraud. Since the Medicaid Inspector General’s Office was created, the state has recovered millions of tax dollars.

  • On a local level, Onondaga County recently purchased Medicaid fraud detection software and has detected $402,000 in client fraud; currently, the county is in the process of recovering this money. Since last year, the county has recovered $52,000.

To report alleged abuse, fraud or waste, you can fill out a complaint form on or call the Medicaid Fraud Hotline toll free at 1-877-87FRAUD (877-873-7283).

Recent Events

Opposing Governor Spitzer’s Proposal to Allow Illegal Aliens to Obtain a State Driver’s License

Governor Spitzer recently announced he was changing DMV procedures in a way that would allow illegal aliens the right to obtain a New York state driver’s license. This deviates from the current law that requires the applicant to provide a social security number. This policy change is wrong for a number of reasons:

photo Assemblyman Barclay speaks against the governor’s DMV policy changes at a local press conference.
  • The governor is attempting to circumvent the law by making a policy change without legislative insight. The requirement of providing a social security number for a driver’s license is statutory - not a regulatory requirement and therefore can only be changed legally by legislation.

  • Knowing that several of the 9/11 hijackers paid illegal aliens to help them obtain licenses, this policy weakens the security of our state and nation.

Around the District:

Going the Distance for Veterans

To the editor:

On returning home to my beloved city of Fulton and my many friends, I was heading south on 481 just outside the city when I noticed the highway sign which named 481.

It read "DAV Memorial Highway," which I believe is a huge mistake! It should read Veterans Memorial Highway.

I was president of the Fulton Veterans Organization at the time that the name Veterans Memorial Highway was proposed to the Governor and was accepted with an addition.

Onondaga County wanted to be a part of the highway so that the entire road from Oswego to Syracuse was dedicated as Veterans Memorial Highway.

To be sure, on my return trip to Syracuse the sign proclaimed 481 as Veterans Memorial Highway. To further check, I traveled to Oswego, and sure enough, right outside the former Oswego County jail is the sign, "Veterans Memorial Highway."

I immediately stopped in at Assemblyman Barclay’s office in the Oswego County Building. I was greeted by his secretary. I explained to her that the signage was wrong on 481. She advised me she would contact the DOT. She did and approximately three weeks later the new sign was put up.

I sincerely want to thank Assemblyman Barclay, his staff, and the DOT on behalf of all veterans.

William "Bud" Shinnick

Letters to the editor like the one above demonstrate the excellent constituent services provided by the staff in my district office. I am proud of their level of professionalism and dedication when it comes to helping people in the 124th Assembly District. If you need assistance with a state matter, please contact my district office by writing to the address or calling the phone number listed below.

To receive more information on any of the above, or to sign up for my newsletter, please contact my district office.

Contact Assemblyman Barclay:
200 North Second Street, Fulton, NY 13069 (315) 598-5185
546 Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12248 (518) 455-5841