Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, 90th AD, is calling for a change in the way business is conducted inside the legislature by adopting a continual two year session in Albany.
Currently the legislature is run on a two year session, but it is not continual. This means if legislation has not completed the process at the end of year one, it must restart at the beginning of year two, leaving Assemblymembers and Senators to vote on legislation previously decided upon the year before.
“This process makes for a very repetitive start of year two and prolongs members from debating and voting on new bills,” stated Galef. “The facts show that of the 203 bills on the Assembly agenda in January 2006, 82.6% of the bills had been voted on in 2005. If other states can have two year sessions, why can’t New York?”
The bill was inspired by Galef’s thorough evaluation of other states that also operate on a two year session. New York is one of the state legislatures that does not have a continual two year session. States that do have a continual two year session include California, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, and New Jersey.
By changing the legislature to a continual two year session, bills would move forward in the second year of session from the point they ended during the first year. The Members of the Assembly and Senate would not have to revote on a bill that already passed in the first year of session. However, if a legislator would like their sponsored legislation reheard or if an amendment was made, it would be possible to recall a bill for a second vote.
Galef concluded, “The change of rules proposed in this legislative reform would better utilize legislators’ time, save staff time, committee time, and lower the overall printing costs. We could focus on new legislation and the upcoming state budget. I believe this would make the New York State Legislature even more productive.”