Constitutional Change in New York
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Discusses why state constitutions matter, the structures and processes of governments, and the rights of citizens.
Few citizens know much about the constitution of their state. Some don't even know there is one. Yet state constitutions are basic instruments of our democracy. They structure state and local government and stipulate the rights of citizenship.
In New York State, as in others, the Constitution mandates a periodic vote on whether the state Constitution should be revised. In New York, a mandatory ballot question is put before the voters every twenty years—"Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?"
Seven months prior to the next such vote—which will be held on Election Day, November 4, 1997—the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government is publishing companion books on the New York State Constitution—one a sourcebook on constitutional change in New York, the other a rich history of the last constitutional convention held in New York State, that in 1967.
The editors of this sourcebook on Decision 1997 are Gerald Benjamin, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Political Science at the State University at New Paltz, and Henrik N. Dullea, Vice-president for University Relations at Cornell University. The material presented grew out of the work of the Temporary Commission on Constitutional Revision created in 1993 and chaired by Peter G. Goldmark Jr.
Former New York State Governor, Malcolm Wilson, to whom this book is dedicated and who served as a member of the Commission, said of this compendium, "This volume deserves to have a long shelf life even after the people exercise their duty to vote on this issue in 1997. These papers constitute a valuable resource on our great governmental heritage. "