"Laws are like sausages," Otto von Bismarck is said to have remarked. "It is better not to see them being made." Even among sausage factories, New York State's legislature is notoriously dysfunctional, but as Tales from the Sausage Factory reminds us, this was not always the case. Indeed, in the early 1980s, New York's legislature was a model of professionalism. Cowritten by former state legislator Daniel Feldman and political scientist Gerald Benjamin, Tales from the Sausage Factory offers an up-close look at how law and public policy are made in New York State. Drawing on Feldman's experiences as a member of the New York State Assembly from 1981 to 1998, the book focuses on four major battles over public safety policy in the 1980s and 1990s--organized crime control, the Rockefeller drug laws, sex offender notification, and gun control. Not afraid to name names along the way, Feldman and Benjamin show how politics works in New York State and how major public policy questions are decided (both in the legislature and the courts), as well as how New York's legislature might rise above its present dysfunction to recover the professionalism it once had. At a time when frustration with at state government is at an all-time high, Tales from the Sausage Factory is a much-needed reminder of what we can--and should--expect from our state legislators.
About the Author
Daniel L. Feldman is Associate Professor of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, and was previously Special Counsel for Law and Policy to the New York State Comptroller. From 1981 to 1998, he was a member of the New York State Legislature in the 45th Assembly District. His previous books include Reforming Government and The Logic of American Government: Applying the Constitution to the Contemporary World. Gerald Benjamin is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Research, Regional Education, and Outreach at State University of New York at New Paltz. He has served as an elected member of the Ulster County legislature between 1981 and 1993, and is a 1991 recipient of the New York State/United University Professions Excellence Award. He has written or edited fourteen books or monographs as well as numerous government reports and articles.