Indiana legislature will reduce paper trail by relying more on iPads

Like other state legislatures, the Indiana General Assembly uses lots and lots of paper — an estimated 17 tons every session. For a single piece of legislation last year (the state’s budget bill), a total of 133,080 pages were printed out. That is the equivalent of 16 trees. 

In 2012, though, Indiana lawmakers hope to use a little less paper under a pilot project that will have them relying more on iPads. According to the Northwest Indiana Times, two legislative committees will go “paperless“ next year. Committee reports and documents will be distributed electronically, via iPads. Meanwhile, the state will examine ways to build out the technologies needed to expand the use of computer tablets as lawmakers familiarize themselves with the devices.

An Indiana Legislative Service Agency study found that 18 states have already launched paperless initiatives. In the Minnesota Legislature and Wisconsin House, one or more legislative activities have been converted to a paperless process. The Kansas and Ohio legislatures have also taken steps to reduce the use of paper. The same study estimated that during Indiana’s 2011 session, $550,000 was spent “moving paper.” This total includes actual paper and equipment costs as well as the time that staff devotes to distributing, filing and retrieving paper documents.

Article appeared in December 2011 Stateline Midwest »