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January 6, 2016

Assembly Advances Plans for Electronic Chamber
Rule Change Would Allow for Electronic Format of Bills

Advancing plans to modernize procedures in the Assembly, Speaker Carl Heastie joined with Majority Leader Joseph Morelle and members of the Working Group on the Electronic Chamber Project to announce a proposed resolution that would alter a rule of the House with regard to printing of bills and placement on the desks.

This measure would allow for bills to be either printed on paper or delivered to legislators in an electronic format to satisfy the requirement for copying, printing and placing bills on the desks of members.

"Over the course of the last session, we took several steps to bring the People's House into the 21st Century by adding technology which provides greater access to a range of legislative information. I thank Majority Leader Morelle, the members of the Work Group and our colleagues in the Assembly Minority for their leadership in identifying and implementing technological resources that help us all to be more effective legislators," said Heastie.

"With this rule we will fully implement the changes made last session with the introduction of computer tablets which not only made information more accessible to members, but it increased efficiencies on the floor as well. This rule change is the logical next step to reduce reliance on paper and the costs associated with printing of bills," said Morelle.

The bill introduced today follows the historic step taken last April to computerize the Assembly chamber desks with the addition of tablets. The tablets provide access to a range of legislative information, including daily session calendars, calendar briefing books, instant bill lookup and other advanced bill search capabilities. The Assembly's new electronic bill aging system is equipped with extensive power backup capabilities and computer redundancies to meet the highest standards of dependability.

New Yorkers approved a constitutional amendment in November of 2014 that permits the Legislature to utilize electronic bills, an initiative long advanced by the Assembly to enhance the legislative process and to reduce the use of paper and printing costs. As a result, Speaker Heastie convened the bipartisan Working Group on the Electronic Chamber Project in February 2015. The members include: