The legislators who backed the least legislation this year
By BILL MAHONEY 08/02/16

ALBANY — For most legislators in the capital, introducing legislation is a very common activity.

In this year’s session, there were 16,601 active bills, an increase from 15,912 in 2014 and 15,881 in 2012. That’s likely enough for New York to keep its title as the home to the most legislation: In 2004, the Brennan Center for Justice found that the 16,892 bills in the previous session doubled any other state’s total. (That year’s runner-ups Illinois and Massachusetts are at 13,676 and 7,019 this year).

Of the 212 individuals to serve in the Legislature in 2016, 211 contributed to this total. The only exception was longtime Assemblymember José Rivera, who was not listed as the prime sponsor of any pieces of legislation. This isn’t too atypical for the former Bronx Democratic boss and frequent videographer.

The only bill Rivera has sponsored in the past four years was a 2015 measure that extended the life of a law that lets the Bronx Zoo offer a day of free admission until 2020.

He had six bills in the 2011-2012 session. Three of these became law — one changing the name of a food assistance program, another extending New York City’s lease with the New York Botanical Garden and a third extending the Bronx Zoo’s free admission day until 2015.

Rivera sponsored no legislation in 2010, and his only bill in 2009 extended the zoo’s free admission day for three years.

The Bronx lawmaker’s last big spurt of legislative activity came when he sponsored 20 measures in 2008, including a bill that would have made the Department of Transportation put signs on the highway near Albany alerting drivers to the exit they should take to get to Crossgates Mall, and legislation that would have required reflectors on lane markings on the Adirondack Northway.

Rivera did not return requests for comment made Monday.


Michael Benjamin