Fewer two-house bills passed in 2017, continuing long-term decline

Legislative Gazette file photo

The 2017 legislative session saw a decline in the number of “same-as” bills passed by both houses, according to a new analysis by the New York Public Interest Research Group.

For the period from January through June of this year, 606 bills passed both houses of the Legislature and the governor has acted on 336 so far, chaptering 331 and vetoing 5.

It was the lowest number of two-house bills passed by both the Senate and Assembly since 2012 when they passed 571.

A look at the number of two-house bills passed over a longer period of time, using legislative actions by a governor since 1920 as a metric, shows that legislative agreements have declined over time in New York state, with the Wilson and Rockefeller administrations serving as a high water mark. During those years, about 1,350 same-as bills were passed every year, on average.

The NYPIRG report released Monday shows a sharp decrease in the number of bills being expedited via a “message of necessity.”

In the seven single-year legislative sessions of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tenure, an average of 13.1 bills passed both houses each year through a message of necessity, compared to his immediate predecessors the Spitzer/Paterson Administration, with an average of 41 per year, and the Pataki Administration, with an average of 89.2.

Fifteen bills were passed with a message of necessity in 2017, compared to 13 in 2016; 10 in 2015; and 17 in 2015.

In 2016 there was little change in the number of bills approved by the governor and his executive actions on legislation are comparable to his most recent predecessors. In 2016, Cuomo chaptered 519 bills and vetoed 99. In 2015, he chaptered 589 bills and vetoed 133.

The NYPIRG report also includes updated legislative profiles which provide information on lawmakers’ roles in the Legislature, their outside income if any, most recent election results, significant campaign contributors and demographic information about their districts and is available here.