Local document management business urges change
Going paperless could save the New York State Legislature millions of dollars, according to one Assemblyman.
In an effort to stop wasteful printing of bills and reports for state legislators, Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, has introduced two pieces of legislation to the state Assembly, with Republican Senators on board, too. The first bill adds a section to legislative law and executive law for all reports, digests and records to be available online with a printing option. The second bill addresses the state constitution by allowing a bill's passage if it is available electronically. Currently, the state constitution requires the final bill to be printed and on all members' desks three days before approval.
"This shouldn't be a partisan issue. Any time you can save money and do something better, I think it is common sense," said Tedisco. "It was a no-brainer for me to suggest it is going to be something positive for the state government at all levels."
The 212 legislative desks see a myriad of documents, said Tedisco, so he introduced the bills in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's asking for ideas on how to reduce expenses in state government. His legislation, "Legislative Online Digital Paperwork Reduction Act," wouldn't require legislators to use only electronic documents, but it would have representatives printing out bills from their own office printers if they so please.
"We are in the 19th century in terms of messaging and technology here," said Tedisco. "It is incomprehensible not to save money in this way I use the technology and we write as few letters as we can and try to get back to people by e-mail."
Tedisco previously said if only the Assembly went paperless, savings could total $26 million. Legislators could use laptops, e-book readers or even their cell phones to view documents, he suggested. The House of Representatives recently went digital by a unanimous vote, and 18 state legislatures are implementing or experimenting with the digital switch, he added.