Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Electronic Bills Pre-Tedisco

In my attempt to mirror the efforts of the Capitol Press I got caught up in the inane process that often dominates coverage at the expense of substantive issues and people with meaningful things to say.
I'm specifically referring to Wednesday's coverage of the announcement by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, referring to his proposal to save money by eliminating the automatic printing of thousands of bills that the state Legislature introduces every year. This release, which was rolled out with great fanfare, was given far too much ink by me and people of my ilk, because the assemblyman was only introducing a version of a proposal that has been floating around the Legislature for years and has been introduced this year.
A measure that would allow bills to appear before members electronically (via computer) has been in the Assembly since 2001, from Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, and in the Senate since 2003, from Sen. Joe Robach.
Their same-as proposal would allow people to get printed versions if they wanted and guaranteed a record of any deletions or additions that might be made to a bill.
The major point that their legislation made, which was never addressed by Tedisco, was the fact that the state constitution guarantees that no bill shall be passed or become law unless it shall have been printed and placed upon the desks of members. Because of this provision, their legislation was a constitutional amendment that added language that specified that a bill shall be deemed "printed and on a members' desks" if it was presented in an electronic format and met a few other conditions.
This proposal has already been introduced again this session, in the form of Assembly Bill 5274 and Senate Bill 357.
Anyway, just thought it was important to give this original proposal its proper due and so I could feel clean. Oh yeah, and Tedisco, whose proposal is more expansive, is a co-sponsor of Galef's bill this year.

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