Now that the budget has been finalized, the Legislature and advocates alike will turn their focus to policy. While June may seem eons away to some, especially if you are looking out your window at the barren trees and wind swept parking lots, there are only 24 days left in the 2021 Legislative Session before members return to their district until next winter.
Over the next few weeks, chairs of each committee will compile a list of its member’s priorities. Similar to a child’s wish list for birthday presents, this list provides invaluable information. Internal staff will collect how many bills remain under the Committee’s control, who introduced them, external statements of support (and opposition) and, if they are time sensitive. As a result, the Chair will determine weekly agendas to ensure their colleagues legislation can be reviewed, discussed and hopefully, voted on by the entire Chamber.
In theory, the process is simple but in reality, it rarely is.
For members of the legislature, this is the time of year they rely on their constituents and advocates, such as NYLA and you all. With our help, an issue of importance can gain momentum and ultimately, support of others within the Senate and Assembly. With an increase in support, bills that may likely be ignored and left for a future session, can be placed on an agenda and be brought to the floor for a vote. From there, the Governor would review the legislation and, fingers crossed, become a bill.
Over the next few weeks, NYLA will be distributing information about our policy initiatives, where they are in the process and, how the library community can influence their outcome.
Until then, you can read about them here.