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Constitutional Amendment Required to Replace Paper with Electronic Records in New York

08.13.13

Every legislative session is the death knell to thousands of trees to print more than 19 million pages based on a NY Constitutional requirement that requires that bills “shall have been printed and upon the desks of the members” for three days before a vote can be taken. Since few of these papers are ever read by NY legislators, this summer the NY legislature passed a bill that will allow the voters of NY to change that constitutional requirement allow electronic copies. This particularly interesting since according to the American Forest and Paper Association the “pulp and paper industry is responsible for more than 16,000 jobs in New York.”

The New York Times reported that according to the National Conference of State Legislatures:

More than half of the country’s state legislatures have taken steps to go paperless or reduce paper use,...

In the Hawaii Senate, where the paper consumption in an annual session once equaled about a thousand mature trees, the chamber has reduced its use of paper by 85 percent since 2007.

...at least 16 states have given iPads or other tablets to all or some of their legislators, according to the legislature association.

It’s certainly about time that all the states went digital and eliminated this great waste of natural resources.

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