By Cara Matthews

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and Senate Democrats, who most likely will be in the minority come January, are urging the Senate to pass reform bills at the start of the new session next month. Before the November election, 53 of 62 members of the incoming Senate signed a pledge proposed by Koch’s New York Uprising group to support non-partisan redistricting, stronger ethics and disclosure laws and taking the politics out of the state budget process.

(The Court of Appeals heard a case today in which Nassau County Sen. Craig Johnson, a Democrat, wants a hand recount of the ballots. He lost to his GOP opponent. If the loss stands, Republicans will have a 32-30 advantage. If not, there will be a 31-31 split.)

Senate Democrats unveiled a package of bills that would accomplish those things at a news conference on the steps of New York City Hall. Three are ethics bills, three are about the budget process and would set up a non-partisan Legislative Budget Office, and one is on redistricting, which occurs every 10 years based on new census numbers.

The legislation has to be passed in 2011, Koch said in a statement. “I will be working with the members of the legislature on a bipartisan basis to make that all come about,” he said.

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