Bill, Veto and Recall Jackets

When a bill passes both houses of the New York State Legislature, the Governor's Counsel's Office collects memoranda and letters discussing the pros and cons of the bill. Materials collected may include a sponsor's memo justifying the lawmaker's introduction of the bill, counsels' statements, State agencies' official positions, study groups' comments, as well as the opinions of bar associations, lobbyists, corporations and private individuals.

These are submitted to the Governor along with the proposed legislation for approval, veto, or recall. Recalls are bills sent back to the Legislature to correct a defect, at the request of either the Governor or Legislature, but then are not returned to the Governor's Office for approval or disapproval.

Depending on the Governor's decision, the materials collected become parts of different "jacket" collections. Bills signed into law are placed in the Governor's Bill Jacket Collection; vetoed bills, in the Governor's Veto Jacket Collection; and recalled bills, in the Governor's Recall Jacket Collection. These collections are generally sent by the Governor's Counsel's Office to the New York State Archives in the summer after the legislative session has ended. Many of these jackets have been copied in microform and are available from the State Library.

State Government Holdings

Currently, the New York State Library [(518) 474-5355] has bill jackets for 1905 and 1921-2001 (microform) and 2002-2009 (CD-ROM); the New York State Archives [(518) 474-8955] has them for those years as well as 2010; and the Legislative Secretary to the Governor's Counsel [(518) 474-7182] has them for 2011. Bill jackets for 1995-2010 are also available from the Archives electronically on The Digital Collections page. To retrieve a bill jacket, you must know the year and chapter number of the law. This information may be obtained from the Legislative Digest, formerly titled New York Legislative Record and Index, or from McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York Annotated.

Veto jackets exist for 1905 and from 1926 to the present. The New York State Library has microform copy for 1905, 1926-1928, 1931-1958, 1961-1965, 1970 (partial), 1973-2001 and CD-ROM copies for 2002-2009. For 2010 and years missing in the State Library's collection, check with the New York State Archives [(518) 474-8955]. For 2011 check with the Legislative Secretary to the Governor's Counsel [(518) 474-7182]. Veto jackets for 1995-2010 are also available from the Archives electronically on The Digital Collections page. To retrieve veto jackets from 1926 through 1958, you must know the year and bill introduction number; for those issued 1961-1974, the bill number; and for those issued 1975-2011, the veto number. This information may be obtained from the Legislative Digest, formerly titled New York Legislative Record and Index. *NOTE: Access to original bill and veto jackets in the State Archives is limited because of the condition of the items. Generally, the State Archives does not pull and/or photocopy bill or veto jackets prior to 1960.

Recall jackets exist for 1936 through 1954 and for various years from 1959 to 1993, when recall jackets were declared unconstitutional. The New York State Library has partial holdings of recall jackets on microfilm for 1936 through 1954. To retrieve recall jackets, you must know the year and bill introduction number. Recall jackets after 1954 were sometimes filmed with veto jackets--check the microform collection in the New York State Library.  Recall jackets after 1954 may be available at the New York State Archives [(518) 474-8955].

Contact Information for New York State Institutions Owning Bill Jackets

New York State Archives
3rd floor, Cultural Education Center
Albany, New York 12230
(518) 474-8955
email: archref@mail.nysed.gov
Legislative Secretary to the Governor's Counsel
Executive Chambers, State Capitol
Albany, New York 12248
(518) 474-7182
Appellate Division 4th Dept. Law Library
M. Dolores Denman Courthouse
50 East Ave., Suite 100
Rochester, NY 14604-2214
(585) 530-3250
Holdings for the bill jackets: 1905, 1921-2006
*New York Public Library
Science, Industry and Business Library
188 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10016
(212) 592-7200
*State University of New York at Buffalo
Charles B. Sears Law Library
John Lord O'Brian Hall, Amherst Campus
Buffalo, New York 14260
Reference: (716) 645-2047
Loan: (716) 645-6765

*Check with institution for holdings information.

See also: New York State Legislative History Research Tutorial

Last Updated: November 28, 2012