Resources: Basics of NYS Government
In New York State, there are four statewide elected
offices: Governor and Lieutenant Governor (who are
elected jointly), Comptroller, and Attorney General.
The Comptroller heads the Department of Audit and Control
and the Attorney General heads the Department of Law.
These are two of the twenty executive departments.
The Governor oversees the other departments (with the
exception of the Education Department which is overseen
by the Board of Regents). The Lieutenant Governor
participates in the legislative branch as President of
The New York State Legislature is composed of two houses, the Senate and
the Assembly. There are 62 members of the State Senate and 150 members
of the State Assembly. In order for a bill to become law, it must pass
both houses before it is sent to the Governor for approval or veto.
The process of enacting a law begins in each house with
the initial drafting and introduction of a bill.
Typically, the bill is then sent to a committee
specializing in the subject matter of the bill, such as
Labor or Environmental Conservation. The committee
may hold hearings or other proceedings to deliberate the
bill, and if it passes out of the committee it may go to
the floor of the house where it was introduced for debate
and a vote by the full membership. A bill must
receive votes from a majority of Senators or
Assemblymembers in order to pass.
If a bill passes in both the Assembly and the Senate, it is then sent to
the Governor for veto or approval. If the governor vetoes a bill, the
legislature may override the veto if two-thirds of the membership in each
house vote to do so.
Once a bill is passed by both houses of the Legislature
and approved by the Governor, it is often implemented and
enforced by state agencies that operate within the
Executive Branch. These agencies promulgate rules
and regulations in order to implement laws.
The activities of the Legislature and state agencies are matters of public
interest, and it is important that these activities are conducted in the
open and that legislative and agency records are readily available to the
public and members of the media.