The Daily Gazette
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Deadline approaching for digital printing bill

The state Legislature is running out of time to end the requirement that all legislation be printed.

First passage of a constitutional amendment that would allow legislation to be read electronically, instead of printed, was accomplished last year by the state Legislature. The amendment still needs to be approved by the end of the legislative session, which is June 20, and approved in a public referendum this fall or in 2014.

With a month to go in session, the proposal is sitting in Senate's Judiciary Committee with no signs of movement and hasn't been introduced in the Assembly. If it isn't passed this year, the state Legislature would have to start the two-year process over again next year.

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, D-Westchester/ Putnam, who sponsored the Assembly legislation last year, said last week she still plans on introducing the bill before the end of session. She confirmed that second passage by the state Legislature must happen this year.

Part of the delay, Galef said, is determining whether the proposal should come up for a statewide referendum this year or next year. "We're just holding to figure out when it should be on the ballot," she said.

This decision making process is being made in consultation with the state Senate, she said.

"I am pushing it," Galef said of the proposal. "Having all this paper ... is just a waste of money"

Locally, Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, has been championing this issue for years and was a co-sponsor of Galef's legislation.

He stressed the importance of second passage this year, as it will limit the state's carbon footprint and save millions in tax dollars.

"Hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper are needlessly printed each year by the Legislature and even more by state departments, agencies, authorities colleges and universities, much of it going unread and tossed into landfills," Tedisco said. "This is no way to treat Mother Earth or taxpayers funds.”

It is possible that the Senate bill, which is 4417, could be passed in the Senate and then sent to the Assembly, thus eliminating the need for it to be introduced separately in the Assembly. It is also possible that the measure could be passed in a special session, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has yet to indicate plans to call such a session after June 20.

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