Niagara Gazette

Opinion

June 23, 2013

GLYNN: State lawmakers vote to save paper

Niagara Gazette — Whatever might be said about the current legislative session that ended in Albany late Friday, the lawmakers approved one measure that could save taxpayers upward of $50 million and tons of paper each year.

Overshadowed by the failure to pass the controversial abortion protection measure — what Gov. Andrew Cuomo had listed as a priority — was the state Legislature’s approval of the second constitutional  amendment to allow the government to go digital. In case you missed it, the amendment will make it legal to produce digital copies of legislation instead of soaring stacks on lawmakers’ desks in the chambers and offices. 

Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, has led the fight for that major change over the past three years. We’re all aware of the staggering number of bills considered every year, if only to prove lawmakers are doing something on Capitol Hill, but few of us would guess that 17,800 were introduced in the 2011-12 session. (The 2012-13 tally is not finished). Tedisco noted that it costs $13 million per year just for the printing of the bills and some $40 million to dispose of all that paper.

In his press release issued Friday night, Tedisco stated: “Mother Earth is smiling today and so are taxpayers because the New York State Legislature is about to go digital to stop the wasteful priinting of bills that can easily be displayed on a laptop, iPad, Kindle or some other mobile device. This is a victory for taxpayers and for anyone who cares about reducing our carbon footprint.”

This story isn’t over yet. The voters have the final say in the November referendum, as required by the constitution.

•••

IN THE PARKS: Next weekend will be a busy one in Porter and Youngstown. Alex Renee’s big Swing Band will perform at the free 7 p.m. concert Friday in Falkner Park in the village. On Saturday, the Porter-on-the-Lake “Summer Festival” is set at the lakefront park off Dietz Road.

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