NYS Assembly takes big step towards paperless

Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R-C Macedon), who has long advocated for the electronic presentation of legislation to Assembly members, is celebrating the recent installation of computer tablets on desks in the legislative chamber.“It is something that I wanted to see happen almost from the time I was elected to the Assembly,” Assemblyman Oaks said regarding electronic communication replacing the stacks of paper bills that accumulate on the desks of the 150 members of the Assembly each session. “After traveling to Indiana and seeing how efficient their legislature operated with computers in the chamber, I drafted legislation several years ago for New York to join the electronic age.”“Finally, we will have a paperless system in place. This common-sense solution will be much more efficient, saves millions in taxpayer dollars, and is much better for the environment.” A constitutional amendment was approved by the legislature, then adopted by the voters last November, which changed the antiquated requirement that a copy of each bill shall be “printed and upon the desks” for three days before a bill is voted on. Now, with the constitutional changes, providing the bill in electronic form on a computer or electronic device satisfies the requirement.The computer tablets will provide lawmakers with access to a range of legislative information including daily session calendars, briefing books, and instant bill lookup and other advanced bill search capabilities. The tablets are in a trial phase. Paper bills will continue to be available through the remainder of the 2015 session.

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