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The New York State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse


Information Related to New York's Nov. 7, 2017 Constitutional Convention Referendum

 

 

News Related To The

November 7, 2017 Referendum

 

Mahoney, Bill, Battle lines form over push to update New York’s Constitution, Union-Sun & Journal, May 20, 2017.

Perreault, Nick, Lawmakers trying to pass hundreds of bills before the end of the session, News10, May 18, 2017.

Brachfeld, Ben, The Evolving Powers of the New York Attorney General, Gotham Gazette, May 18, 2017.

Silberstein, Rachel, As Legislative Leaders Warn of Con Con Dangers, Good Government Groups Come Out in Favor, Gotham Gazette, May 17, 2017.

Brock, Chris, A conventional tale of the Adirondacks, Watertown Daily Times, May 14, 2017.

Retired teachers aid YWCA, Lions, Union-Sun & Journal, May 20, 2017.

Harding, Robert, Coalition wants NY constitutional convention question on front of election ballot, AuburnPub.com, May 12, 2017.

Reisman, Nick, ‘Con-Con’ a No-No, Say Legislative Leaders, Spectrum Daily News, May 12, 2017.

Bragg, Chris, Heastie, Flanagan discuss Trump tax plan, procurement, end of session, Times Union, May 9, 2017.

Willis, Scott, and Karen DeWitt, NYers to Vote Up or Down on Constitutional Convention; Legislative Leaders Opposed, WAER88.3, May 9, 2017.  Also published in WRVO Public Media.

Lovett, Kenneth, Democratic lawmaker warns against convention to change N.Y. constitution, New York Daily News, May 8, 2017.

Dobie, Michael , Talking Point: Con-con at bat, Newsday, May 3, 2017.

Denney, Andrew, Cleary Gottlieb Partner Denied Chance to Challenge Selection for NY Constitutional Convention, New York Law Journal, May 3, 2017.

Lovett, Kenneth, Lawmakers, advocates of worker rights fear change to N.Y. Constitution, New York Daily News, May 2, 2017

Hughes, Kyle, State Senate members oppose constitutional convention, Saratogian Politics, May 2, 2017. Also published in the Oneida Dispatch, May 1, 2017.

*Gormley, Michael, PAC pushes for constitutional convention to overhaul Albany, Newsday, May 4, 2017.

Larson, Greg, Young and Goodell: State Constitutional Convention Right Now Could Be Devastating, Chautauqua Today, April 30, 2017.

Sebouhian, Damian, To convene or not? Debate sheds light on Constitutional convention, Observer, April 28, 2017.

Bradley, Pat, Adirondack Interests Discuss Potential Constitutional Convention, WAMC, April 28, 2017.

On Brooklyn Paper Radio: Why New York needs to rip up its constitution!, Brooklyn Paper Radio, March 28, 2017.

Heltzel, Bill, Constitutional convention could simplify New York state courts, Fairfield and Westchester County Business Journal, Westfair Communications, March 17, 2017.

Gormley, James, Governor’s poll numbers on the rise, Legislative Gazette, February 28, 2017

Silberstein, Rachel, As Con Con Debate Heats Up, Heastie Declares Opposition, Gotham Gazette, February 22, 2017.

Desmond, Mike, Constitutional convention could be opportunity to simplify court system, WBFO88.7, February 21, 2017.

Reisman, Nick, Flanagan Questions Con-Con Cost, State of Politics, February 7, 2017.

Mahoney, Bill, Pro-choice forces undecided on merits of a constitutional convention, Politico New York, February 6, 2017.

Lovett, Kenneth, Cuomo expresses reservations about state constitutional convention, New York Daily News, February 6, 2017.

Molongoski, Brian, NNY officials question shared services proposal at New York State Association of Counties conference, Watertown Daily Times, Feb. 5, 2017.

Stashenko, Joel, Bar Panel Urges Judiciary Changes to NY ConstitutionNew York Law Journal, February 2, 2017.

Silberstein, Rachel, On Your November Ballot: Stripping Pensions from Corrupt Politicians, Gotham Gazette, February 1, 2017.

Levy, Nicole, Cuomo’s Move to Protect Abortion Rights Isn’t Speedy Enough, Advocates Say, DNA Info, February 1, 2017.

Murphy, Mike, Program on NY Constitutional Convention to air on Finger Lakes TV, Victor Post, January 31, 2017.

Campbell, Jon, Cuomo: Put abortion rights in NY constitution, Poughkeepsie Journal, January 30, 2017.

Petro, Michael, Constitutional Convention may get a push later in the year, Buffalo Law Journal, January 30, 2017.

Mahoney, Joe, State lawmaker forms upstate caucus, Thedailystar.com, January 27, 2017.

Mahoney, Joe, Committee formed to support constitutional convention vote, Politico, January 25, 2017.

Silberstein, Rachel, Cuomo Embraces Voting Reform Agenda, But Implementation Poses Challenges, Gotham Gazette, January 23, 2017.

Silberstein, Rachel, Constitutional Convention Absent from Cuomo’s 2017 Agenda, Gotham Gazette, January 19, 2017.

Mahoney, Joe, Regional divide still leads to turf battles in Albany, The Meadville Tribune, January 19, 2017.  Also published in The Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, January 22, 2017.

Katinas, Paula, Conservative Party gears up for election battle, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 10, 2017.

Greenblatt, Alan, Another Constitutional Convention Could Happen in New York, Governing, January 2017.

Seiler, Casey, Environmentalists want constitutional protections, Times Union, December 29, 2016.

Max, Ben, Predictions! Experts Look Ahead to 2017 in New York Politics, Gotham Gazette, December 28, 2016.

Report: N.Y. forever wild clause should not be modified, The Leader-Herald, December 23, 2016.

State Bar Association: ‘Forever Wild’ clause unlikely to be altered by constitutional conventionsMadison County Courier, December 9, 2016.

Reisman, Rick, Samuels Ad Pushes For Con Con, State of Politics, December 5, 2016.

Seiler, Casey, Cuomo noncomittal on Albany ‘reboot’: Governor not yet involved in constitutional convention push, Times Union, December 4, 2016

NYSRTA held annual conference, The Daily News, November 14, 2016.  See also, Claus, Michelle, Letter: Retired teachers seek to improve education, Buffalo News, November 16, 2016.

Group to hold forum on Constitutional Convention, The Post Star, November 15, 2016.

Silberstein, Rachel, Could Trump & Sanders Populism Fuel Constitutional Convention Approval?, Gotham Gazette, November 11, 2016.

Hamblett, Mark, Court Tosses Suit by Lawyer Aspiring to NY Constitutional Convention Seat, New York Law Journal, November 8, 2016.

Harding, Robert, At Auburn forum, candidates seeking to succeed Nozzolio disagree on recall elections, The Citizen, October 23, 2016. [At a candidate forum for New York’s 54th Senate District, both candidates came out against calling for a state constitutional convention.]

Karlin, Rick, Public sector retirees ring alarm bell against constitutional convention, Albany Times Union, September 28, 2016.

Gavin, Robert, Call for constitutional convention and ‘civil Gideon’ for litigants’ lawyers, Albany Times Union, September 27, 2016.

Chaisson, Bill, Time for ConCon?, Ithica.com, September 21, 2016.

Mahoney, Joe, Government reformers want to edit state’s Constitution, Union Sun & Journal, Sept. 17, 2016.

Moss, Dick, New Yorkers to vote on constitutional convention in 2017, Democrat & Chronicle, August 28, 2016.

Stashenko, Joel, Benefits of Overhauling NY Constitution Is Focus of Judicial Task Force, Law.com, July 19, 2016.

Powell, Nick.  Podcast: Dancing the Con-Con, City & State New York, June 28, 2016.  Discuss Kremer’s “book.”

Mahoney, Joe, Legislature shrugs off ethics-reform push, The Daily Star, June 25, 2016.

Jamele, Chris, Vote on state Consitutional convention approaches, WBFO, June 25, 2016.

Campbell, Jon, Ethics: Historic change or missed chance?Democrat & Chronicle, June 24, 2016.

Yancey, Roy, Arthur Kremer: Constitutional convention would be boondoggle, Newsday, June 23, 2016.

Hamilton, Matthew, Holding a constitutional convention is ‘nothing but a con’, Times Union, June 23, 2016.

Capital Tonight Staff, The Cons of a Constitutional Convention, Warner Cable News, June 27, 2016.

King, David, Cuomo Appears to Give Up on Legislature Closing LLC Loophole, Gotham Gazette, June 22, 2016.

Seiler, Casey, Preparation lagging for Cuomo’s latest route to ethics reform, Times Union, June 20, 2016.

McKinley, Jesse, Some Call Legislative Session a Letdown. Cuomo Sees It Far Differently, New York Times, June 19, 2016.

Flasch, Jane, You Paid For It: How to save New York taxpayers $140 million a year, WHAM, May 24, 2016.

Moore, Justin, Could New York become two separated states?, WKBW, May 14, 2016.

Wooten, Michael, Rally this Saturday in WNY to ‘Divide New York’, WGRZ, May 11, 2016.

Jason, Jordan, New take on dividing NY, The Evening Tribune, April 30, 2016.

Mahoney, Joe, Reform activist calls for constitutional convention, The Daily Star, April 27, 2016.

Public News Service, Where’s Support for New York State Constitutional Convention?, Public News Service, April 20, 2016.

King, David Howard, A Post-Budget Test of the Governor’s Commitment to a Constitutional Convention, Gotham Gazette, April 17, 2016.

Press Release:New Paltz forum will detail paths to possible New York state Constitutional Convention, Daily Freeman News, April 15, 2016.

Evers-Hillstrom, Karl, NYS Bar Association wants to educate voters on Constitutional Convention, Legislative Gazette, April 12, 2016

Wicker, Ryan, NYS Bar Association Asks Governor Cuomo to Create Commission, Empire State News, April 9, 2016.

Wicker, Ryan, Balance of Power Between NYS and Local Governments Has Shifted, Empire State News, April 5, 2016.

Davidsen, Brett, NYS Exposed: Term limits for state lawmakers, WHEC.com, March 28, 2016.

Karmasek, Jessica, New York attorney sues state, city election boards over allegedly unconstitutional election law, LegalNewsline.com, March 22, 2016.

Fink, ZackGood Government Groups Pushing for Constitutional Convention in Albany, Time Warner Cable News 1, March 2, 2016.

Seiler, Casey, Before a state constitutional convention, a few modest proposals, Albany Times Union, March 1, 2016.

Dewitt, Karen, Constitutional Convention Should Not be Run by Insiders, Groups Say, WXXI News, March 1, 2016. Also aired on WSKG News and on WBFO 88.7.

Seiler, Casey, Interview with Gerald Benjamin on New York Now, WHMT, February 19, 2016. Interview runs from 1:44 to 11:44.

Reisman, Nick, NYSUT Raises Concerns With Con Con, State of Politics, February 10, 2016.

Ewin, Claudine, Poll: Corruption ‘Serious Problem’ in Albany, WGRZ.com, February 1, 2016.

NY Gov. Cuomo: constitutional convention a chance for reform, Associated Press, January 15, 2016.

King, David, Cuomo Unveils Ethics Plan to Questions of Follow Through, Gotham Gazette, January 14, 2016.

Mahoney, Bill, Cuomo muted in support of constitutional convention, Politico, December 31, 2015.

[Blog] Maichle, Kyle, New Yorkers Could Have a Constitutional Convention in 2017, Somewhat Reasonable, December 15, 2015.

Twomey, Michael, New York’s Constitutional Convention Vote: Hit or Stand?, City Land, December 14, 2015.

Klepper, David, New York to decide whether to revise state constitution, Associated Press, December 13, 2015.  Carried by numerous media outlets, including News10.com and Times Union.  Klepper was also interviewed on WCNY.

Mroziak, Michael,, Lt. Governor urges public to be informed ahead of critical 2017 vote, WBFO, December 9, 2015.

Dewitt, Karen,NYers Will Soon Get Chance to Change State’s Constitution, WAMC, December 7, 2015.

Capital Tonight Staff, Making the Case for a Constitutional Convention, Warner Cable News, December 7, 2015.

Albany has many options when it comes to corruption, Associated Press, December 6, 2015.

Seiler, Casey, Back to the drawing board for state constitution?, Times Union, December 6, 2015.

Plock, Alyssa, Ashley Hupfl, David Klepper, ConConConversation, WCNY, November 20, 2015.  (Host interviews the leading expert on New York’s last constitutional convention in the late 1960s; includes proposals for what a future convention could do; discussion begins at 13:00; ends at 48:29.)

Press Release, Citizen Groups Create Multiyear Campaign to Promote Awareness of the 2017 NYS Constitutional Convention Vote, Rockefeller Institute, September 14, 2015.

Mahoney, Bill, Activist challenges constitutional convention selection process, Politico NY, September 14, 2015.

Seiler, Casey, SAFE Act, constitutional convention suits form Bob Schulz double-header, Times Union, September 14, 2015.

How Anthony Weiner Would End the Cuomo-de Blasio Beef, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC.org, August 31, 2015 (host interview with Weiner on convening a New York constitutional convention ends at 12:32, then call-in questions taken, including more host questions, until 25:30).  See also PR firm announces Anthony Weiner’s departure, which came as news to him, Politico, September 16, 2015.

King, David, State Constitutional Convention: Holy Grail or Pandora’s Box?, Gotham Gazette, August 26, 2015.

Dewitt, Karen, Effort begins to publicize next constitutional conventionWRVO Public Media, August 14, 2015

Rogers, Megan, Three questions with David Miranda, Albany lawyer leading the New York’s bar association, Albany Business Review, August 12, 2015.

Stashenko, Joel, State Bar Chooses Members to Study NY Constitution, New York Law Journal, July 28, 2015.

Bar Association president forms committee to study state Constitution, East Niagara Post, July 27, 2015.

Harding, Robert, Poll: Most NY voters support holding constitutional convention, AuburnPub.com, July 15, 2015.

Astorino talks to Conservatives of potential 2018 run, Capital, February 9, 2015.

Hamilton, Colby, ‘The Capitol Pressroom’ with Susan Arbetter, WNYC.com, March 8, 2012

Winchester, Laura E., Newstead board offers support for ‘people’s convention’ on reform, Buffalo News, November 29, 2011.

Virkler, Steve, Assembly GOP leader touts constitutional convention plan in Lowville, Watertown Daily Times, October 18, 2011.

Adams, Cindy, “Ex-Gov’s Call: Reform,” New York Post, January 5, 2011.

Precious, Tom, “Can Cuomo outmaneuver Legislature? Lawmakers and special interests have frustrated governors before, and obstacles to a reform agenda are no less daunting this time,” Buffalo News, October 26, 2010.

Precious, Tom, “Cuomo sets out to restore trust in state government,” Buffalo News, May 28, 2010.

McNeill, Harold, “People’s Convention’ for state is pushed; Ordinary citizens seen as force in Albany reform,” Buffalo News, February 19, 2010.

Gormley, Michael, Hearings set concerning a New York “people’s convention”, Associated Press, December 15, 2009.

Interests, Mechanics, Plans And Hopes Convene In Constitutional Convention Effort, City & State, November 25, 2009.

McCarthy, Robert J., “Republican Lazio makes formal entry as contender,” Buffalo News, September 23, 2009.

“Rick Lazio Vows to ‘Replace State Government’,” New York Observer, September 22, 2009.

Lovett, Kenneth, Voters Still in a Rage: State gov’t needs big overhaul, roars majority in the state: pollDaily News, September 16, 2009.

Confessore, Nicholas, As Voter Disgust With Albany Rises, So Do Calls for a New Constitution, New York Times, August 23, 2009.

Millman, Jennifer, NYers Tired of “Worst in Nation” Government: PollNBCNewYork.com, August 19, 2009.

Seiler, Casey, Giuliani: It’s time for a constitutional convention, Capitol Confidential, June 24, 2009.

Giuliani calls for New York constitutional convention, ValleyCentral.com, June 24, 2009.

New York State Senate update: How about a constitutional convention? AP, June 24, 2009.

“In Preparation for Possible Race Against Andrew, Rudy Echoes Mario,” New York Observer, June 24, 2009.

Adams, Cindy, “If NY Wanted Change, It Would Constitute It,” New York Post, June 24, 2009.

Newfield, Jack, “Cuomo Looks Back – And Ahead,” New York Sun, May 21, 2003.

 

Book Reviews Related To The

November 7, 2017 Referendum

 

Roberts, Sam, New York’s Overstuffed Constitution: Voters Face a Window for Reforms, New York Times, March 24, 2017.

 

Blog News Related To The

November 7, 2017 Referendum

 

Somerstein, Nicole, Will New York Decide to Hold a Constitutional Convention?, BallotReady, April 25, 2017.

3 Reasons to Vote in the NY State Constitution ReferendumManhattan Neighborhood Network, March 12, 2017.

 

On the Positions of New York State Legislators

 

Note: The Legislature’s leaders are marked with an asterisk (*) before their name.

Senators For

  1. Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Queens). Source: Silberstein, Rachel, As Con Con Debate Heats Up, Heastie Declares Opposition, Gotham Gazette, February 22, 2017.

Assembly Members For

  1. Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R-131st District, Canandaigua; Minority Leader). Source: Kolb, Brian, The case for a constitutional convention, Auburnpub.com, February 7, 2017.

Senators Against

  1. Senator Marisol Alcantara, (D-Manhattan). Source: Unions and Independent Democratic Conference members stand together against national right-to-work legislation and release four-point protection plan for New York State workers, press release from office of Senator Jeff klein, February 10, 2017.  See also the accompanying report, Union Strong.
  2. Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers, Minority Leader).  Source: Lovett, Kenneth, Democratic lawmaker warns against convention to change N.Y. constitution, New York Daily News, May 8, 2017.
  3. Senator Ruben Diaz, (D-Bronx). Source: Why I Am Against A Constitutional Convention, New York State Senate website, April 19, 2017.
  4. *Senator John Flanagan (R, Suffolk, Majority Leader). Source: Silberstein, Rachel, As Con Con Debate Heats Up, Heastie Declares Opposition, Gotham Gazette, February 22, 2017; Reisman, Nick, ‘Con-Con’ a No-No, Say Legislative Leaders, Spectrum Daily News, May 12, 2017; Reisman, Nick, ‘Con-Con’ a No-No, Say Legislative Leaders, Spectrum Daily News, May 12, 2017.
  5. Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Brooklyn). Source: Unions and Independent Democratic Conference members stand together against national right-to-work legislation and release four-point protection plan for New York State workers, press release from office of Senator Jeff Klein, February 10, 2017.  See also the accompanying report, Union Strong.
  6. *Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx, Independent Democratic Conference Leader). Source: Unions and Independent Democratic Conference members stand together against national right-to-work legislation and release four-point protection plan for New York State workers, press release from office of Senator Jeff Klein, February 10, 2017.  See also the accompanying report, Union Strong, and Hughes, Kyle, State Senate members oppose constitutional convention, Saratogian Politics, May 2, 2017.
  7. Betty Little (R-Queensbury). Source: Mahoney, Bill, Battle lines form over push to update New York’s Constitution, Union-Sun & Journal, May 20, 2017.
  8. Sens. Rob Ortt (R-Niagara County). Source: Mahoney, Bill, Battle lines form over push to update New York’s Constitution, Union-Sun & Journal, May 20, 2017.
  9. Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens). Source: Unions and Independent Democratic Conference members stand together against national right-to-work legislation and release four-point protection plan for New York State workers, press release from office of Senator Jeff klein, February 10, 2017.  See also the accompanying report, Union Strong.
  10. Jim Seward (R-Milford). Source: Mahoney, Bill, Battle lines form over push to update New York’s Constitution, Union-Sun & Journal, May 20, 2017.
  11. Then Assemblyman Jim Tedisco; Currently Senator Jim Tedisco (R-49th District). Source: Griffith, Glenn, Candidates for 49th Senate District seat spar in lively debate, CNWeekly.com, Oct. 20, 2016.
  12. Senator David Valesky (D-Oneida). Source: Hughes, Kyle, State Senate members oppose constitutional convention, Saratogian Politics, May 2, 2017.
  13. Senator Cathy Young. Source: Larson, Greg, Young and Goodell: State Constitutional Convention Right Now Could Be Devastating, Chautauqua Today, April 30, 2017.

Assembly Members Against

  1. Assemblyman Andrew Goodell. Source: Larson, Greg, Young and Goodell: State Constitutional Convention Right Now Could Be Devastating, Chautauqua Today, April 30, 2017.
  2. *Assemblyman Carl Heastie, (D-Bronx, Assembly Speaker). Source: Silberstein, Rachel, As Con Con Debate Heats Up, Heastie Declares Opposition, Gotham Gazette, February 22, 2017; Reisman, Nick, ‘Con-Con’ a No-No, Say Legislative Leaders, Spectrum Daily News, May 12, 2017.

Assembly Members Leaning Against

  1. Assemblyman Robert Carrolll (D-Brooklyn). Source: Silberstein, Rachel, As Con Con Debate Heats Up, Heastie Declares Opposition, Gotham Gazette, February 22, 2017.
  2. Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan). Source: Silberstein, Rachel, As Con Con Debate Heats Up, Heastie Declares Opposition, Gotham Gazette, February 22, 2017.

Claimed Undecideds

Assemblyman Nicole Malliatakis (R-NYC). Malliatakis is running as a Republican for NYC mayor.  Source: Malliatakis on ConCon. NewYorkTrue.com, May 5, 2017.

Refused to Take A Public Position

 

 

Good Government Group Letters to the Legislature or Governor

Regarding a State Constitutional Convention

 

Broadcast Media Documentaries on the

November 7, 2017 Referendum

 

Finger Lakes TV Public Access Interview with Hank Dullea

See Murphy, Mike, Program on NY Constitutional Convention to air on Finger Lakes TV, Victor Post, January 31, 2017.

To be aired on the FLTV On The Road program.  However, as of February 5, 2017 it couldn’t be found on its website.

WCNY’s 6-Part Series, Issues Regarding a Constitutional Convention in NYS

The parts will be gradually released between May 2016 and November 2017, and available via streaming at wcny.org/ConnectNY.

Summary: Every 20 years, the state constitution sets a statewide referendum on whether to convene a constitutional convention. The next vote arrives November 7, 2017. Through 2016 and into 2017, WCNY will develop a campaign of content exploring this important expectation of the electorate, including a series of six episodes of Connect: NY so that voters are able to make an informed decision.  Episodes of the six part series will air Mondays at 9 p.m. on WCNY, and on local PBS stations across New York.


Summary Programming Guide


Part I

Connect: NY 107, May 16, 2016 Re-Imagining New York: NY’s Constitutional Convention – Halley’s Comet of Change 

Note: A remarkable factual mistake near the opening of Part I is that New York’s first constitution is still its current constitution.

In November of 2017, New Yorkers will have the chance to vote on whether or not to hold a Constitutional Convention.  In the first installment of our series on this critical vote, we discuss the problems that exist within the State’s Constitution as well as the risks that are inherent when the document is opened up to change.

Part II

Connect: NY 108, June 20, 2016 Re-Imagining New York: Environment

There is no more famous provision in the New York State Constitution than the one protecting the Adirondack Park as “Forever Wild”.  In the third installment of our series on the pros & cons of a Constitutional Convention, we will discuss the history and practical implications of this unique constitutional promise.  Why, for example, should residents of New York City get to vote on a mining provision in the Park?  Plus, we debated other environmental questions.

Part III

Connect: NY 109, July 11, 2016 | Re-imagining New York: Crime & Punishment

Could a constitutional convention fix New York’s criminal justice system? Learn about the tragic story of Samuel Harrell, a mentally ill prisoner at the Fishkill Correctional Facility whose 2015 death was ruled a homicide and is still under investigation. A panel of experts addressed the issues that stem from the case, and discuss how a state constitutional convention could address the injustices that may have occurred.

Part IV

Connect: NY 110: Aug. 22, 2016 | Re-imagining New York: Power and Ethics

In the last 10 years, more than 30 current or former state officeholders in New York have been convicted of crimes, or accused of wrongdoing.  Could a Constitutional Convention help sweep out the bad apples?  How about take money out of politics?  Recalibrate power?  Or institute term limits?  The answer to all of the above is YES – but it comes with risks.

Part V

Connect: NY 111, Sept. 19, 2016 | Re-Imagining New York: Education

This episode introduces the idea that a Constitutional Convention in New York could impact the issues surrounding how children are equitably educated, how the education system is funded and why collective bargaining plays an important role.

Part VI

Connect: NY 112, Oct. 17, 2016 Re-imagining New York: From Imagination to Reality

What happens if New Yorkers vote ‘Yes’ to a Constitutional Convention in 2017? What are the risks? What positive steps could come out of a convention?


Detailed Programming Guide


‘Connect:NY’ series explores the next constitutional convention

Every 20 years, the NY state constitution mandates a statewide referendum on whether to convene a constitutional convention. The next vote arrives Nov. 7, 2017, when voters determine whether to hold a convetion. New York’s 50,000-word constitution currently has 225 amendments and was last amended in 1938.

To help voters make informed decisions, WCNY will explore this important opportunity to reshape government beginning with a series of six episodes of “Connect:NY.” WCNY’s News and Public Affairs Director Susan Arbetter will host monthly conversations on six of the key aspects of the issue on “Connect:NY.” Stakeholders in government, labor, the environment, law and business will join scholars and educators will join a lively, in-studio presentation that will be produced from WCNY’s Broadcast and Education Center.

The program features the following six upcoming topics:

May 16 at 9 p.m. | New York’s Constitutional Convention: Halley’s Comet of Change

In November of 2017, New Yorkers will have the chance to vote on whether or not to hold a Constitutional Convention. In the first installment of our series on this critical vote, we discuss the problems that exist within the State’s Constitution as well as the risks that are inherent when the document is opened up to change.

June | Re-imagining New York: Environment

There is no more famous provision in the New York State Constitution than the one protecting the Adirondack Park as “Forever Wild”. In the third installment of our series on the pros & cons of a Constitutional Convention, we will discuss the history and practical implications of this unique constitutional promise. Why, for example, should residents of New York City get to vote on a mining provision in the Park? Plus, we will debate other environmental questions.

Issues:

  • Has “Forever Wild” worked? What lessons from it can we apply to other parts of the constitution?
  • Is there anything about “Forever Wild” that needs to be tweaked?
  • Could the constitution do more to promote conservation (e.g., carbon tax or mandate to reducecarbon emissions to a certain level)?
  • Should fresh drinking water be considered a constitutional right?

July 2016 | Re-imagining New York: Crime & Punishment

Critics say New York’s justice system is failing. State prisons employ rogue officers. The facilities to accommodate inmates with mental health problems are inadequate. That New York is one of only two states where 16-year-olds are treated as adults. In part four of our series on the Constitutional Convention we discuss how re-writing the State’s Constitution could address these issues, as well as the unintended consequences of constitutional change.

Issues:

  • Should New York raise the age of criminal responsibility?
  • Should there be a constitutional right to mental health supports?
  • How do we address prison brutality?
  • Why are some judges in the state appointed and other voted in by the people

August | Re-imagining New York: Ethics & PowerThe balance of power in New York State government tilts toward the executive branch. Critics say that the balance needs to be re-calibrated; they are unhappy that the Governor is permitted to include policy provisions in the state budget as he did with teacher evaluations in 2015. In the 5th installment of our series on the Constitutional Convention we will address the balance of power, as well as the issues that have had New Yorkers scratching their heads for years, including why “3 men in a room” hammer out the budget every year.

Issues:

  • Is “three men in a room” found in the constitution?
  • Why doesn’t the state have term limits for legislators/governors?
  • Can we take the money out of politics?
  • How come it seems like the same people win every year?
  • Would “Initiative & Referendum” work in New York State?

September | Re-imagining New York: EducationThe New York State Constitution promises a “sound basic education” to every student. But education advocates argue that lawmakers haven’t taken the promise seriously and have underfunded many districts. In the second installment of our Constitutional Convention series we will discuss school financing, as well as the constitutional provision that protects pensions for teachers.

Issues:

  • Should there be a constitutional right to pre-kindergarten education?
  • Should there be limits on class sizes?
  • How do we ensure equity in school funding?
  • Do we need to reform how the Board of Regents functions?
  • How do charter schools fit into the state constitution?
  • Should pensions be constitutionally protected?
  • Do we need to reform collective bargaining?

October 2016 | Con Con 2017: From Imagination to Reality

In the final installment of our series to prepare WCNY viewers for the November 2017 vote on a Constitutional Convention we will present a final breakdown of the risks and rewards of holding a convention including the idea that a convention acts as a pressure relief valve (or so our forefathers may have thought) for those who are dissatisfied with the process and the product of government and seek a course correction.

  • We explain that New Yorkers will have 3 opportunities to say “yes or no” in this process.
  • If voters say “yes” in 2017, what then? How would delegates be selected? Are lawmakers allowed to be delegates and if so, would they get double the salary? How much would a convention cost? How long would it last? Where would the event take place? What if we go through this process and voters say “no” to the final result? Will it have been a waste of time?
  • What would New York in the 21st century look like with and without a new constitution. “Connect: NY” will be broadcast on public television stations across New York State. It will also be available for streaming online at wcny.org/connectny.

 

Broadcast Media Interview Shows that Regularly Cover the

November 7, 2017 Referendum

 

Effective Radio with Bill Samuels

A radio talk show that regularly covers the upcoming state constitutional convention referendum is Effective Radio with Bill Samuels, which airs every Sunday at 11 a.m. both online and over-the-air on AM970. Here is a link to its convention episodes.  Here is the press release announcing the series.

 

Civic Group Panel Discussions Available Online

 

New York State League of Women Voters

Panel discussion about the New York State Constitution in the context of the upcoming referendum, November 10, 2016, Albany NY (1 hour, 17 minutes)

The New York State Constitutional Convention in Historical Perspective. Sponsored by the New York State Historical Association
November 18, 2016, SUNY Albany.  Note: The session on New York State constitutional history was organized as a follow-up to the September 24, 2015 event at the New York Council for the Humanities produced by The New York State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse.  See the article in the New York History Blog, November 29, 2015.

 

News Related To

The Corruption of New York’s Legislature

 

Precious, Tom, 516 bills passed in nine days: Why Albany waits for a final flurry, Buffalo News, June 26, 2016.

Hupel, Ashley, CUOMO, LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT ON ETHICS REFORMS PACKAGE, City & State New York, June 17, 2016.

King, David, In Extended Session, Lawmakers Vote Through Variety of Bills with Little Public Review, Gotham Gazette, June 18, 2016. “For the public, many legislators and watchdog groups, this year was defined by the corruption convictions of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, as well as the broad federal investigation into Cuomo’s economic development programs across the state. However, legislators resisted any major reforms that would directly address the issues involved in those cases.”

McKinley, Jesse, Cuomo Seeks Fixes to ‘Rampant’ Problems in New York’s Campaign Contribution System, New York Times, June 8, 2016.

O’Connor, Meg, Everyone Agrees Albany Needs Ethics Reform, Except the People Who Matter Most, Gotham Gazette, April 1, 2016.

McKinley, Jesse, A Leisurely Return for the New York State Legislature, New York Times, February 14, 2016.

Yee, Vivian, In Albany, Those Who Might Address Ethics Meet Rarely and Offer Less, New York Times, January 19, 2016.

Weiser, Benjamin, Craig, Susanne, and William K. Rashbaum, Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney, Sees Lessons in Albany Corruption Trials, New York Times, December 13, 2015.

Norden, Lawrence, A history lesson on fixing Albany: Tweaking the system isn’t enough; we need to mobilize the public around profound democratizing reforms, New York Daily News, December 2, 2015.

Burns, Alexander, and McKinley, Jesse, Guilty Verdict Is a Spur to Would-Be Reformers of Albany’s Political Culture, New York Times, November 30, 2015.

O’Connor, Meg, Good Government Groups Point to New Evidence of Need for Major Ethics, Gotham Gazette, November 12, 2015.

Weiser, Benjamin, Kaplan, Thomas, and Craig, Susanne, Leaders of Anticorruption Panel Felt Cuomo Intervened, Prosecutors Say, New York Times, September 12, 2015.

King, David Howard, Despite Unprecedented Scandal, Calls for Special Ethics Session Fall on Deaf Ears, Gotham Gazette, July 29, 2015.

Bredderman, Will, Schneiderman Calls Absence of Ethics Reform From Albany Deal ‘Incomprehensible’, Observer, June 26, 2015.

King, David Howard, Schneiderman’s Evolution on Ethics, Gotham Gazette, Jun 05, 2015

Seiler, Casey, Frustrated by ‘glaring’ lack of action, Schneiderman will introduce ethics bill, Albany Times Union, May 26, 2015.

Seiler, Casey, Siena poll: Cuomo’s favorability at a new low, Albany Times Union, May 26, 2015.

Smith, Chris, More Corruption Fallout in Albany: Dean Skelos Steps Down As State Senate Majority Leader; John Flanagan to Replace Him, Daily Intelligencer, May 11, 2015.

Vilensky, Mike, N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Job Performance, Approval Ratings Slip: Poll, Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2015.

Burns, Alexander, and Susanne Craiger, Pushing Ethics Reforms, Cuomo Wants Lawmakers to Reveal Income or Lose ItNew York Times, February 2, 2015.

Moreland Commission

Rashbaum, William K., and Craig, Susanne, In Two Corruption Cases, the Culture of Albany Will Go on Trial, New York Times, November 1, 2015.

Weiser, Benjamin, Kaplan, Thomas, and Craig, Susanne, Leaders of Moreland Commission Panel Felt Cuomo Intervened, Prosecutors Say, New York Times, September 12, 2015.

After Ethics Panel’s Shutdown, Loopholes Live On in AlbanyNew York Times, December 8, 2014

Cuomo’s Office Hobbled Ethics Inquiries by Moreland Commission, New York Times, July 23, 2014

U.S. Issues Subpoena in Inquiry on Cuomo’s Closing of Moreland CommissionNew York Times, July 17, 2014

U.S. Said to Seek Records From Anticorruption Panel’s MembersNew York Times, May 6, 2014

Voters Disapprove of Cuomo’s Shutdown of Anticorruption Panel, Poll ShowsNew York Times, April 22, 2014

Cuomo Caught Up in Rare Conflict With ProsecutorNew York Times, April 10, 2014

U.S. Attorney Criticizes Cuomo’s Closing of PanelNew York Times, April 9, 2014

Cuomo’s Push to End Moreland Commission Draws BacklashNew York Times, March 31, 2014

“The corruption in the State Legislature in Albany has not been episodic. It’s been systemic.”

Preet Bharara

United States Attorney, Manhattan District, U.S. Federal Government

“The collusion, the coordination, the subterfuge, the fraud in the current political system is rampant… [T]he states have done a poor job in policing — and I include our state in that as well.”

Andrew Cuomo

Governor, New York State

Reports Related To

The Corruption of New York’s Legislature

 

Lerner, Susan, et al., Election Administration: How Does New York State Compare?, New York Common Cause, January 2017.

Harmon, Lauren, Posner, Charles, Jawando, Michele, and Dhaiti, Matt, The Health of State Democracies, American Progress Action Fund, July 2015.  New York gets an “F” for representation in state government.  See the section on New York.

2014 Election Outcomes Are In: Rigged Redistricting System Will Re-elect Dozens of Legislators Before a Single Vote is Cast, Citizens Unions, October 28, 2014.  See also Autz, Lisa, and Samar Khurshid, Uncontested Democracy: New York ballots offer voters startlingly little choice, Gotham Gazette, October 30, 2014.

Horner, Blair, Mahoney, Bill, Robbie Sheikh, Lerner, Susan, and Paul, Brian,  How the  2012 Redistricting Deal Denies New Yorkers Fair Representation and the Fundamentally Flawed Redistricting “Reform”, Common Cause/NY, Effective NY, and NYPIRG, June 2014.

FAIR ELECTIONS FOR NEW YORK STATE: How Public Matching Creates Greater Voter Choice and Competition, Citizens Union, November 28, 2012.

Kolb, Brian M., New York’s Last, Best Hope For Real Reform: The Case for Convening a State Constitutional ConventionAlbany Government Law Review, Vol. 4, pp. 601-624 (2011).  A shorter version of Kolb’s argument can be found here.

Norden, Lawrence, Stengel, Andrew, and Seago, Laura, Still Broken: New York State Legislative Reform 2008 Update, Brennan Center for Justice, January 2, 2009.

Foster, Bethan, Norden, Lawrence, Stengel, Andrew, and Pozen, David E., Unfinished Business: New York State Legislative Reform 2006 Update, Brennan Center for Justice, October 11, 2006.

Ward, Richard B., Reform: Is This The Time?, in New York State Government, 2nd Edition, Rockefeller Institute Press, December 2006.

Creelan, Jeremy M., and Moulton, Laura M., The New York State Legislative Process: An Evaluation and Blueprint for Reform, Brennan Center for Justice, July 21, 2004.

Horner, Blair, Reform New York: 10 Steps on the Path to Change Albany, New York Public Interest Group, October 2004.

 

 

 Events Related To

The Corruption of New York’s Legislature

 

Can New Yorkers Fix Albany’s Corruption Problem?Citizens Union, April 6, 2015.

 

 

News Related To

The Corruption of New York Advocacy Groups

 

Bragg, Chris, Deadline approaching, good-government groups urge ‘ethics reform’ veto, Albany Times Union, August 24, 2016.

Reisman, Nick, Cuomo Approves New Disclosure Measures, State of Politics, August 24, 2016.

Lovett, Kenneth, Gov. Cuomo signs ethics bill requiring Super PACs to disclose more donors, despite reform groups’ objections, Daily News, August 24, 2016.

 

 

  Lectures on the Upcoming Referendum

 

David Miranda, Announcing the Committee on the New York State Constitution, New York State Bar Association,July 24, 2015.

Snider, J.H., Brainstorming a Public History and Civic Participation Agenda for New York’s Nov. 2017 Constitutional Convention Referendum, New York Council for the Humanities, September 24, 2015.

Benjamin, Gerald, The Potential Impact of the 2017 Constitutional Convention Referendum, The State Academy for Public Administration, October 28, 2015. [One correction: the outcome of the 2010 Maryland referendum concerning the required majority was not litigated and has never been litigated.]

 

David Miranda, Report of the Committee on the New York State Constitution, New York State Bar Association, November 13, 2015.

New York State Constitutional Convention Boot Camp for Reporters, New York State Bar Association, December 7, 2015.