By the time you read this, there’s a pretty good chance the New York State Legislature will have adjourned.
The end-of-session season is right good fun for reporters because despite spending about 62 days in regular session this year, it’s always right up against the end of this schedule that anything at all ever gets done. Our legislature is not unlike a lethargic teenager who waits until the last minute to crack “Grapes of Wrath” and has to stay up all night with a pot of coffee on.
That’s not entirely fair, though, because in New York our lawmakers take their job title pretty seriously and spend a lot of time passing dozens of items. Most of these don’t matter in the least to most New Yorkers — did you know, for example, that it was just last year sweet corn was named the state’s official state vegetable? And just so the onion lobby doesn’t feel bad, our leaders also designated Aug. 21 as Onion Appreciation Day. Really.
(Fun story: down in Texas, a state legislator by the name of Tom Moore managed to spearhead a resolution honoring serial killer Albert DeSalvo — the Boston Strangler — to make a point about researching what you’re voting on. It passed unanimously before Moore withdrew it).
So mixed in with gay marriage, cigarette taxes and wrangling union contracts are dozens of little laws and resolutions like the “roadway excavation quality assurance act,” many of which will have little real-world impact at all but are real nice thoughts.
Somewhere in the middle of all this is a bill that as of this writing hasn’t made it to a vote: Lauren’s Law, an effort to encourage organ donation. We were surprised to learn New York comes in dead last among states when it comes to the number of registered organ donors per capita: just 19 percent (the nationwide average is 43 percent).