Electronic Legislative Bills Now Distributed in New York

Beginning this coming session, copies of legislative bills will now be electronically distributed when the New York Legislature is in session, after Ballot Proposal 2 was passed by voters Tuesday in New York.

According to the Associated Press, more than 2.164 million people voted in favor while 634,147 voted against it.

New York’s Constitution requires copies of bills to be printed and distributed to each of the 213 members of the Senate and the Assembly. After the bills have been distributed, legislators must wait three days for the bills to “age” before they can vote on it. Previously, this requirement could only be satisfied by the distribution of a physical printed copy.

With the passage of Proposition 2, the bill distribution process changes. Now legislators will be able to view electronic copies of bills at their desks using their computer or other electronic device. The proposal would amend Section 14 of Article 3 in the state constitution. Bills will be considered “printed and upon the desks” of members of the legislature if they are delivered in a legible electronic format and if the legislators are able to review the bill electronically from their desks.

Legislators also have the option to print the bill if they choose. Also, the bill cannot be changed without leaving a record of the changes. The mandatory three-day waiting period before voting still exists for legislators.

To put it into perspective, 17,000 to 18,000 bills are introduced during a two-year legislative term, on average. All of that paper has cost taxpayers $13 million per year on printing and $40 million per year to dispose of the waste, according to Assemblyman James Tedisco, a long-time supporter of a paperless legislature.

“Our job is to provide the best services at the lowest cost to our constituents and try to create an environment for small businesses to create jobs,” Tedisco said. “We don’t take taxpayers money to create jobs, we take their money to provide services at the lowest cost and most efficient way so this will provide for that level I believe.”

Democratic Assemblywoman Sandy Galef has also been a strong advocate for a paperless legislature and sponsored relevant bills in the past.

The state now is expected to save $53 million and also many trees as well.

 

More Election Coverage:

Cuomo Defends His Place as Governor.

Odd Race, Predictable Ending for District 52.

Avella Remains 11th District Senator.

Former Navy Reservist Clinches Senate Seat in 3rd District.

Cahill Remains 103rd District Assemblyman.

Martins Beats Challenger by Less Than 4 Percent in 7th Senate District.

Larkin Gets 13th Term in Senate.

Tonko Easily Holds on to NY-20 Congressional District.

Maloney Claims Victory in Close 18th Congressional District Race.

Prop 3 Authorizes $2 Billion for Smart Schools Bond Act.

Prop 1 Passes, Allowing Redrawing of Legislative Districts.

 

 

Keith Ferrante

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