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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Voters told Albany to leap into the '90s, but bill process still stuck in the 1890s

ALBANY - In November, nearly 8 in 10 voters told Albany to go digital and stop wasting hundreds of thousands of pages to print all its bills that fill landfills and lead to less public transparency.

Today, it still hasn’t happened.

“What you’ve got here is a failure to launch by the New York State Legislature,” said Assemb. James Tedisco (R-Scotia). He sponsored the measure that voters agreed on Election Day to make an amendment to the state constitution. “I mean, this is five months!”

He expected computer tablets to be wired for all 213 senators and Assembly members on Jan. 1. But now tablets are stored in a closet and wires are hidden in the lawmakers’ historic desks in the Senate and Assembly chambers.

Going online was not just supposed to save more than $13 million a year in paper alone, but it was to make the business of the Legislature more immediately available to the public.

“They are not going to do this for the entire session,” Tedisco said. “To add insult to injury, we are doing the 10 most paper-weighted bills we will do all year — the budget bills. There is tens of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars wasted because we haven’t digitized. It’s all going to go in landfills — and that’s the impact we were trying to stop also. But the worst thing is it is total lack of transparency.”

Committees have been formed to implement the process, but no date has been set to complete the task.


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