Assembly Considers Redoing Rules After Speaker’s Exit

ALBANY (AP) -

Sheldon Silver’s 21-year reign as the speaker of the New York State Assembly is ending — a tectonic shift in state government that some lawmakers say provides an opportunity to rewrite Albany’s political playbook.

Greater transparency. Less centralized power. Technological innovations to help lawmakers share information with constituents. More input by rank-and-file lawmakers on which bills get votes and who sits on which committees.

Candidates for speaker so far are Carl Heastie of the Bronx — considered the frontrunner — Keith Wright of Manhattan, Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn, Catherine Nolan of Queens and Majority Leader Joseph Morelle of Rochester, who will be the acting speaker until legislators vote on Feb. 10 for a permanent replacement.

Meanwhile, Silver will take a leave of absence from his Weitz & Luxenberg law firm as he fights federal  charges, the firm said Wednesday. Founder Perry Weitz said the firm was “shocked” about the accusations.

“We have asked Mr. Silver to take a leave of absence until these allegations are resolved,” he wrote in a statement emailed to reporters.