While text of proposed legislation can be found online, the average person cannot, in a reasonable amount of time, read and understand lengthy and complex legislation containing a multitude of references. Often lost in the language weeds is the cost of legislation and how it will be financed.

Introduced Feb. 3, state Senate Bill 4264 is yet another example of excessively long, complex legislation. I have read articles stating S4264 would add a tax of approximately 56 cents to the cost of each gallon of gasoline you purchase and raise home heating costs 26%. Just the bill title of S4264 is 74 words long. The text of the bill is 4,012 lines long. Voters deserve legislative transparency.

I sent letters to the local offices of U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, state Sen. Patty Ritchie and state Assemblyman Mark Walczyk on April 8 requesting they introduce/sponsor measures in their respective chamber that limit all future legislation (federal to 100 pages or less; New York state to 50 pages or less), require all legislation be presented in plain language using words with common and everyday meanings, require all legislation include a list of anyone who contributed to content along with their affiliations and explain any financial cost associated with the legislation and how that cost will be paid for.

To date, Sen. Schumer’s office has not even acknowledged receipt of my request. Other than a signed return receipt, I have not heard anything from Sen. Gillibrand. Although I am appreciative of the communication I have received from the offices of Rep. Stefanik, state Sen. Ritchie and state Assemblyman Walczyk concerning this issue, action speaks louder than words.

The taxes associated with S4264 are a prime example of what happens when we do not demand transparency and rein in the size and complexity of legislation. Voters deserve, and should demand, legislative accountability and transparency.

Nancy Foster


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(1) comment

hermit thrush

the world is a complicated place and requiring bills to be less than 100 pages in length -- a completely arbitrary number -- is absurd. on the other hand, it's a laudable goal to have laws be more clearly written, but how is anyone actually supposed to make that happen? beefing up congressional staff would be one small step in the right direction (clear, concise writing takes work), but would republicans ever support that?

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