Galef/Robach Legislation Brings NY State Legislature into Twenty-First Century

June 21, 2011
Assemblywoman Galef with the stacks of printed bills that take time and staff to print, cost money, waste paper, and litter the legislative chambers.
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef is proud to announce that the New York State Assembly and Senate have passed legislation that would provide Members of the Assembly and Senate with the option to receive bills electronically rather than in print. The electronic option requires a change in the New York State Constitution which states that bills must be in printed format on individual legislator’s desks.

“This constitutional amendment will increase the Legislature’s efficiency, save trees, and save money,” Galef said. “We are in the technology age. When our constitution was first written, we did not have any of these advantages. Now we have an opportunity to eliminate paper, and reduce the use of printer ink. It will also reduce the labor involved in providing and then removing the volume of paper that piles up under and around our individual desks. I am so pleased this legislation has finally passed both houses, and hope it will pass again when the next legislative body convenes in January 2013.”

Senator Robach said, “This legislation just makes sense. It helps the environment, it is cost effective and it will save time for staff members to concentrate on more items. If enacted, this bill would bring the New York State Legislature into the technological age and will also save a countless amount of paper.”

Bill A.5274-A/S.357-A, was passed by the Senate on June 16th and the Assembly on June 20th. Because this is a constitutional amendment, it must be passed by two successive legislatures, then ratified by popular vote. The next legislative body, which will take office in January 2013, is required to pass this bill before it goes to the public.

The legislation allows for bills to be transmitted electronically to Member computers located on their desks. Members who prefer the paper option, can still receive bills in that manner.

Galef concluded, “This legislation reduces a significant amount of time, money, and paper used for the revision of bills and therefore greatly benefits the members of the legislature, the environment, and the taxpayers of New York State.”