senate Bill S6453

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to the legislative bill drafting commission

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 24, 2014 referred to investigations and government operations

S6453 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Investigations And Government Operations
Law Section:
Legislative Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยงยง24 & 25, Leg L

S6453 - Bill Texts

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Relates to the legislative bill drafting commission.

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BILL NUMBER:S6453

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the legislative law, in relation to
the legislative bill drafting commission

PURPOSE: To ensure the highest standards of consistency, integrity
and accountability at the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission (LBDC)
by:

(1) Providing for a Commissioner of Accountability; (2) Requiring
quarterly reporting on various metrics at the LBDC; and (3) Ensuring
that all communications between requesting parties and LBDC personnel
are treated as confidential and privileged communications.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The following changes to Sections 24 and 25 of
the Legislative Law are proposed:

(1) Adding a Commissioner of Accountability.

(2) Requiring that all three Commissioners be appointed on a consensus
basis subject to an agreement reached by the Temporary President of
the Senate, Minority Leader of the Senate, Speaker of the Assembly and
Minority Leader of the Assembly.

(3) Specifying the duties of the Commissioner of Accountability, which
will include quarterly reporting on metrics including the number of
bill and resolution drafts and the average response time broken down
into the following categories: type, subject matter, status and party
membership.

(4) Ensuring that all communications between the individual(s)
requesting work product-either a bill or resolution of any type-and
the individual(s) drafting the requested product be treated as
confidential and privileged communications.

EXISTING LAW: Provides for two Commissioners (Administration &
Operations), none of which is specifically charged with strict
"Accountability" duties; provides that the Commissioners be selected
jointly by the Temporary President of the Senate and the Speaker of
the Assembly; No reporting is mandated by current law; The essential
protection of confidential and privileged communications is not
currently recognized in law.

JUSTIFICATION: The LBDC has been drafting bills and resolutions for
the New York State Legislature for over 120 years; it is noted for
professionalism and is nonpartisan in nature. According to the LBDC,
"all communications with and bill drafts prepared for Members of the
Legislature and their staffs are subject to attorney-client
confidentiality." However, this attorney-client confidentially does
not extend to the drafting of resolutions in the majority of cases
because resolution writers are almost exclusively non-lawyers.
Thousands of resolutions are drafted each year, many of which are of a
substantive and sensitive nature which contain policy and political
overtones. Given this fact, combined with the fact that the Senate
Rules currently provide for a level of discretion and review that is
centralized and non-democratic as it relates to bringing a resolution
through the Finance Committee and onto the Floor, protecting


confidentiality the moment an idea is birthed is a safeguard that all
212 members of the legislature deserve and one that is consistent with
the history and functions of the LBDC. Creating a Commissioner of
Accountability to oversee this internal policy shift, and manage the
reporting and enforcement thereon is a complementary component of this
proposal that will only add to the well deserved reputation of the
LBDC as the home of efficient, skilled and hard working professionals.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: There would be some costs associated with the
appointment of the Commissioner of Accountability, should that
individual elect to collect a salary. It is assumed that the reporting
requirements could be accomplished within existing resources.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None noted.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  6453

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 24, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. PERKINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern-
  ment Operations

AN ACT to amend the legislative law, in relation to the legislative bill
  drafting commission

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 24 of the legislative law, as added by chapter 5 of
the laws of 1981, is amended to read as follows:
  S 24. Legislative  bill  drafting  commission.  1.  A legislative bill
drafting commission is hereby created to consist of [two] THREE  commis-
sioners,  one  of whom shall be the commissioner for administration, ONE
OF WHOM SHALL BE THE COMMISSIONER FOR ACCOUNTABILITY and  the  other  of
whom  shall  be  the commissioner for operations. Each such commissioner
shall be appointed [jointly] ON A CONSENSUS BASIS by the temporary pres-
ident of the senate [and], THE MINORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE, the speak-
er of the assembly, AND  THE  MINORITY  LEADER  OF  THE  ASSEMBLY.  Such
appointments  shall be evidenced by the [joint] CONSENSUS certificate of
the appointing officers filed in the office of the secretary  of  state.
Each  such  commissioner shall hold office until his OR HER successor is
appointed in the same manner as hereinabove provided. The  commissioners
shall  receive such compensation as may be provided within the amount of
the appropriation made by law for the maintenance and operation  of  the
commission.   The commissioners and employees of the commission shall be
considered as employees of the legislature for all purposes.
  2. THE DUTIES OF THE COMMISSIONER  FOR  ACCOUNTABILITY  MUST  INCLUDE,
WITHOUT  LIMITATION:  PREPARING  A  QUARTERLY REPORT ON VARIOUS METRICS,
SUCH AS, THE NUMBER OF BILL AND RESOLUTION DRAFTS  REQUESTED  DISASSOCI-
ATED  BY  TYPE,  SUBJECT  MATTER, STATUS AND THE PARTY MEMBERSHIP OF THE
REQUESTOR AND THE AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FROM THE DATE OF REQUEST TO  THE
DATE OF INITIAL PRODUCTION DISASSOCIATED BY TYPE, SUBJECT MATTER, STATUS
AND  THE  PARTY  MEMBERSHIP  OF  THE  REQUESTOR  AND  ENSURING  THAT THE
PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION FIVE OF SECTION TWENTY-FIVE  OF  THIS  ARTICLE
REGARDING CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATIONS ARE FOLLOWED.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD13375-04-4

S. 6453                             2

  S  2.  Section  25  of  the legislative law is amended by adding a new
subdivision 5 to read as follows:
  5. IN THE COURSE OF DRAFTING ALL BILLS AND ALL RESOLUTIONS, ALL COMMU-
NICATIONS BETWEEN THE REQUESTOR AND THE INDIVIDUAL OR INDIVIDUALS DRAFT-
ING THE PRODUCT SHALL BE TREATED AS CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED COMMUNI-
CATIONS.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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