Albany Basics


. 1. How often does the New York State Legislature meet?
The Legislature meets every year, typically for several days a week from January through mid-June and at the call of the Legislative leaders at other times during the year.

2. Does the Legislature ever meet at any time other than in regular session?
The Governor may call the Legislature into extraordinary session for a limited agenda which is identified by the Governor.

3. How long do State Legislators serve?
Both Senators and Assembly members are elected on even numbered years for two-year terms. In a 1964 federal court order, issued pursuant to a reapportionment case, legislators elected in 1964 and 1965 were limited to one-year terms, but two-year terms commenced again with the 1966 election.

4. What types of committees exist in the State Legislature?
The types of committees used in New York include:
1) Joint Legislative Committees which operate year-round and have members from both houses; and
2) Standing Committees organized in each house to operate during the session. Some Senate and Assembly Standing Committees operate year-round as well.

5. How many Standing Committees are there in each house?
There are presently 33 Standing Committees in the Senate, and 37 in the Assembly. The size of a Standing Committee and the total number of these committees are determined by the rules of each house. All bills must be referred to a committee.

6. In what areas are Standing Committees organized?
The Standing Committees in both houses are organized by topic. They include, but are not limited to: Aging; Agriculture; Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business; Crime Victims, Crime and Correction; Health; Tourism, Recreation and Sports Development; Education; Environmental Conservation; Labor; Local Governments; Social Services; and Transportation.

7. How are assignments to committees made?
Appointments to committees are made by the Temporary President in the Senate and by the Speaker in the Assembly. An appointment of a chairperson is usually based on seniority, experience and special knowledge.

8. Can Standing Committees hold public hearings on bills referred to them?
All Standing Committees may hold public hearings. Assembly rules require that not less than two days notice of such hearings be given, and the Senate rules require five days notice.

9. How are Joint Legislative Committees created?
Joint Legislative Committees are set up by a concurrent resolution approved by both houses. The resolution specifies the specific areas for committee study.

10. How many members are there in the New York State Senate and Assembly?
The State Senate has 62 members. The State Assembly has 150 members.