With the state spending millions of dollars each year to print thousands of proposed bills, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, doesn’t want people to stop crafting legislation, but he does want to save money by ending the automatic printing.
Tedisco will introduce legislation that would eliminate the practice of automatically printing every bill that is introduced, which includes over 5,000 in the Assembly so far this year; it would instead provide digital copies to legislators that can be viewed on laptops and mobile devices, with the option to print. “Basically what we’re trying to do is enter the 21st century,” said Tedisco. He estimated that 95 percent of the members already used smart phones.
The total amount of money wasted on the current system is impossible to determine exactly because there isn’t a specific line for legislative printing, but Tedisco estimated it could be as much as $26 million.
Tedisco said he expects bipartisan support, citing a similar plan that recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 399-0. He added that 18 other states have implemented a digital plan, with Ohio, a state that produces far fewer bills than New York, saving $1.5 million since it went digital.
Another burdensome printing cost singled out by Tedisco was The Legislative Digest, which he characterized as a 200-plus page redundancy, because it is essentially a weekly reprinting of previously printed bills. “That’s a total waste of taxpayer dollars.”