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NY Voters Weigh In On Whether State Should Hold Constitutional Convention

NY Voters Weigh In On Whether State Should Hold Constitutional Convention”

To vote, you'll have to turn the ballot over. One of the issues of concern to many residents of the north country is Article XIV of the state constitution, the Forever Wild clause, which protects the Adirondack Park's lakes, rivers and forests from degradation and destruction from logging, lease, sale and development. Vote "yes" for a constitutional convention. The convention process is lawless.

This Election Day, when voters go to the polls, they will not only be asked to choose their representatives for local and county offices, they will be asked to approve or reject three statewide ballot proposals. Fourteen other states have similar mechanisms in place to periodically ask voters about convening a convention to revise their state's governing charter.

New Yorkers have a big decision to make on whether to overhaul the state constitution.

Worries on both sides no doubt are amplified by our now dysfunctional national politics. A publication put out by the Rockefeller Institute of Government and the Government Law Center at Albany Law School helps explain this confusion: The state of NY usually organizes a constitutional commission ahead of the vote to identify issues that would likely be considered by the convention delegates, but this year no such commission was funded. "We will work with other groups in New York State to strengthen the delegate selection process to ensure the election of an informed and diverse group of delegates committed to fundamental reform", says State League President Dare Thompson. They contend that gerrymandered, well-financed senators and assembly members, with their unlimited terms of office, are more accountable, while convention delegates, who can not run for re-election, will be "unanswerable" to the public who put them in their seats. Under New York's constitution, public pensions can not be altered once the individual is in the system. Not true at all, on this proposition, or the following two.

A court could determine, after notice to the public officer and a hearing, if a public officer convicted of such a felony would lose part or all of the pension. Under current law, public officials can put their pension at risk if they are convicted of corruption only if they took office after 2010. If voters are unhappier with the direction of NY than they are anxious about jeopardizing current constitutional provisions, then they'll vote yes.

Here's the story: The Adirondacks and Catskills are home to vast amounts of Forest Preserve.

Because these areas are constitutionally protected as "Forever Wild", counties and communities can't use any of it even for essential services without seeking a constitutional amendment each time.



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