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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, February 16

Assemblyman Tedisco pushes for digital legislature

It's not often I see proposed legislation that I can get behind not only as a state resident, but also as the employee of a company whose recently adopted mantra is "digital first."

Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R-Schenectady/Saratoga) is calling for the legislature to "replace birch with binary" - stop printing paper copies of bills and reports and instead providing them in a digital format.

Shown above is are copies of two Legislative Digests received by Tedisco's office in the past week as an example of wasteful legislative printing. The books are periodically printed and sent to all legislatures.

"With the availability of 2011 technology such as laptops, smart phones and e-reader tablets, there’s no reason why the New York State Legislature should be stuck using the same process that existed 100 years ago,” he said in a release on the measure.

"Given New York’s dire fiscal situation, every dollar saved on going paperless should go to reducing the deficit and tax relief, not filling circular files across the Capitol."

11,700 bills were introduced during the 09-10 session and printed multiple times. There is no specific line item for legislative printing, but Assembly Ways & Means staff estimates it may cost taxpayers up to $26 million.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed similar legislation (by a vote of 399-0) to stop the mandatory printing of congressional bills. Several state legislatures have gone paperless or are experimenting with going digital. They include California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. It’s estimated that Ohio has saved $1.5 million since going digital.


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