Resources: Basics of NYS Government
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A bill is a proposed law introduced by either a State Senator or a Member of the Assembly. Over ten thousand bills are introduced in the New York State Assembly and Senate each year and must complete the legislative process before becoming a law. To learn more about the New York State legislative process, visit www.assembly.state.ny.us or www.nysenate.gov.
Internet searches that provide legislative information are free and available to the general public. To obtain information about a bill, visit:
The New York State Legislature's website at http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/, or the New York State Assembly's website at www.assembly.state.ny.us/leg/.
Using the New York Legislature's Public Information Bill Search
The New York Legislature's public information website (http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/) allows you to search for bills from the current legislative session. If you know the number of the bill you would like to retrieve, you may enter it on the front page and click "Status." This will retrieve the bill's current status. (Remember to include an "A" or an "S" before the bill number to indicate whether it is an Assembly or Senate bill, or the search will return an "Invalid Bill Number" error message.)
For more search options, you may click on "NYS Legislative Bills" to search by:
There are four checkboxes below the search bar – Status, Text, Summary, and Sponsor's Memo – and you may choose any one or all of these in order to retrieve additional information. A description is below:
- Bill number,
- Assembly or Senate Calendar number,
- Resolution number,
- Assembly Rules Calendar number,
- Chapter number,
- Veto number, or
Status: indicates the stage of the legislative process the bill has reached for example, what committee(s) it has been referred to and whether it has passed.
Text: retrieves the text of the bill. Underlined text indicates that the language is a new amendment of current law; text in brackets that has been stricken through is old law that will be omitted.
Summary: includes the legislative sponsors of the bill, as well as the law it would amend (if applicable) and a very brief summary of its subject matter.
Sponsors Memo: summarizes the specific provisions of the bill and the sponsor's justification.
Voting: provides information on full senate votes, including how each senator voted on the bill (or that a senator was absent from voting). For details on Assembly votes, see the Assembly's bill search web site at http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/.
Chapter: provides information only for bills that have become law. Every bill that has passed both houses and has been approved by the governor becomes a "Chapter" within the laws passed that year.
Using the Assembly's Bill Search
The Assembly's bill search (http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/) allows you to search by bill number or keyword, and automatically returns the bill's Summary, Actions (similar to the status information described above), Votes, and Memo, with a link to the Bill Text at the top of the page.