Last year, just as lawmakers were about to begin serious discussions surrounding New York's state budget, the COVID-19 pandemic ground activity in the halls of the Capitol to a standstill.
But as restrictions have lifted, meetings and sessions of the Legislature went partially to video conference technology, and the end of the pandemic saw something of a return to normalcy for the Legislature, a new analysis released Friday found.
Legislators approved 892 bills in the last six months that were backed by both the state Senate and Assembly, according to the analysis released by the New York Public Interest Research Group. The total is more than double the 413 two-house bills approved in 2020, when the session was curtailed amid the pandemic.
Last year, lawmakers returned for a truncated legislative session in the late spring. At the time, 413 bills were approved in both houses.
The numbers are also not an indication of quality, but the quantity of the work that was done in the last half year.
Still, this year's output is a sign the Legislature this year regained its footing as the pandemic continued on and much of the work was conducted in the virtual sphere. Lawmakers have since relaxed some restrictions on the number of people who can be in the legislative chambers, though mask wearing is still required to enter.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has until the end of the year to act on the measures. And lawmakers might still return at some point in 2021 to take up unfinished business, such as a restructuring of the MTA's leadership as proposed by the governor.