Assemblyman argues for paperless budget

Updated: 03/31/2014 10:24 PM
Created: 03/31/2014 6:28 PM WNYT.com
By: WNYT Staff

ALBANY - Many reams of paper were gobbled up this weekend printing the thousands of pages of legislation that make up the budget bills.

Local Assemblyman Jim Tedisco has been arguing for several years that there's a more efficient, less wasteful way of dealing with the budget.

Many trees went to their final reward just to supply the paper needed to print hundreds of copies of the budget legislation.

Back 140 years ago when the system was set up, that was the only way to do it. However, in 2014, legislators could join the modern era.

Big stacks of white paper are spread around the Assembly chamber. Legally, legislation including the state budget must be printed and aged as legislators' desks for three days before it can be voted unless the Governor sends a special message of necessity that Mr. Cuomo has generally avoided providing.

Both the Assembly and the Senate have rooms filled with hundreds of filing slots where the budget bills and all the other introduced legislation is kept.

Assemblyman Tedisco sent out a picture of how tall just a couple of copies of the budget legislation is. Since the bills didn't reach legislators desks until very late Friday, long after almost everyone had headed home, it's doubtful anyone had read the measures cover to cover.  

Tedisco wants general distribution to be made by email to electronic devices. Legislators could examine the measures at home or on the road. No longer would tens of thousands of pages of budget bills need be printed and distributed when no one was around, voted on before any lawmaker reasonably had a chance to read through and then thrown away after pro forms passage.

The last legislator who had a reputation for actually reading all the bills that get voted on around here was Alfred E. Smith. That was around 100 years ago.


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