- New Ballot System. This year we all casted our votes electronically with optical scanning devices. Gone are the machines that cloaked us in curtains and moved with the lever inside. Instead, we stand at what looks like a pulpit to fill out the ballot with a pen. We're protected with small visors on the sides of the stand, to try and keep our votes private. Then, we feed the ballot into the scanning device.
- New York lost two Congressional seats after results of the Census were tallied. This will bring the congressional representation from 29 to 27.
- We saw bi-partisan agreements on an ethics reform package that would have brought our state a step closer towards having stronger ethics laws, however, the package was vetoed by Governor Paterson.
- The Assembly Republican Conference hosted Albany's first-ever "Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day," an event which was attended by over 3,000 sportsmen and Second Amendment supporters, and featured a keynote speech by the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre. Our Conference is again holding this Second Amendment event in Albany on Tuesday, January 25, 2011.
- State law changed to improve voting opportunity and procedures for the military. I was pleased to support this legislation in the Assembly. The new law allows military to be able to cast their vote in a time frame that allows their ballot to be counted. State laws changed due to federal law changes when Congress passed the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. I'd have to say this impacted several close races this year.
- I can't let this column pass without talking in general about technology. The impact it has had on our lives has been dramatic, especially in the area of handheld devices. I found this interesting fact from Time Magazine: In 1983, Motorola's DynaTAC (Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage) 8000X was the world's first commercially-released mobile phone, with a price tag of $3,995 equivalent to $8,772.59 in today's dollars. Motorola spent 15 years and over $100 million developing the technology. The DynaTAC 8000X allowed 30 minutes of talk time, took 10 hours to charge, weighed 1.75 lb., and stood 13 in. high Now: The DynaTAC has long been forgotten, with pocket-size touch phones like the Blackberry Torch, Droid X, and iPhone 4 dominating the market. They cost anywhere from $50 to $300.
Assemblyman Will Barclay's office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 598-5185.