New York State Government

What It Does, How It Works

By Robert B. Ward

Subjects: New York State Government
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Hardcover : 9780914341888, 474 pages, August 2002
Paperback : 9780914341895, 474 pages, August 2002

Table of contents



1. Introduction: A Day in the Life


A Broad Impact
Why This Book?
A Key Question: What Does State Government Do?
Government Responds


2. The Constitution


Changes Over Time
The National Context
New York's First Constitution
The 1821 Constitutional Convention: Historic Changes
More Power to the People: The 1846 Convention
Development of the Modern Constitution: 1894-1938
The Constitution at the Turn of the 21st Century: A Bill Of Rights — Right at the Start
Structure of State Government: The Legislature
Structure of State Government: The Governor
The Comptroller and Attorney General
Structure of State Government: The Judiciary
What Government Must, May, and Cannot Do
Has the Time for Major Change Passed?


3. The Governor and Other Statewide Elected Leaders


A Powerful Executive
Who Becomes Governor of New York?
What Does the Governor Do?
Enacting Laws: Constitutional Powers, Political Influence
The Power of the Spotlight
The Administrator-in-Chief
Limits to Executive Authority
The Governor's Staff: The "Second Floor"
Governor's Legislation
Assessing Governors
The Lieutenant Governor
Beyond the Governor
The Comptroller
The $112 Billion Job
The Attorney General


4. The Legislature


The Basics
From Royal Control to the Will of the People
"One Man, One Vote"
The Powers of the Legislature
Limits on Power
How Do The Houses Work?
How a Bill Becomes a Law: The Basics
The Role of the Leadership
The Committee System
The Minority: An Important Voice
A "Professional" Legislature
Conference Committees: What Was Old is New Again
Who Are They? Members of the Legislature Today
Representative Democracy = Politics
Getting Elected


5. The Judiciary


State Courts: The Mainstream of the U. S. Judiciary
Structure of the Courts
The Constitution on the Courts
An "Absurdly Complex" System
The Trial Courts
Appellate Courts
The Court of Appeals
Powers of the Courts
Checks on the Courts' Powers
The Judges
The People's Courts: The Juror's Role


6. Appointed Officials, Administrative Law, and the Bureaucracy


Policy, Powers, and People
The Power of Appointed Officials
Patronage, or Performance?
State Agency Powers: Regulation
Regulating Business Relationships
Public Service Commission
Banking and Insurance Regulation
Authority Under the Law
Regulating the Regulators: SAPA
Executive Chamber Oversight of Regulations
Beyond SAPA
Regulatory Agencies and the Courts


7. The Workforce


Who Are the State's Workers?
The Legal Environment: Yesterday and Today
The Taylor Law
Resolving Disputes Under the Taylor Law
Bargaining Units and Unions
Repairing a "Calcified" Civil-Service System
Employee Relations in the 21st Century


8. State Government's Biggest Job: The Budget 183


Who Are the Players?
What's in the Budget: The Spending Side
Priorities Change
How to Measure the Budget?
The Executive Budget Process
How the Process Unfolds
The Legislature's Role
A Contentious Process
A 27-Month Budget Process
Recent Reforms to the Budget Process
Where Does the Money Come From?
Cutting Taxes
More Than Meets The Eye
The Role of Borrowing
Who Decides, and How?
The Balance of Power
How New York Compares
Why Is Government in New York More Expensive?
Budget Watchdogs


9. Health and Mental Hygiene


A Multi-Tiered System
Where It Began: Public Health
State Government's Growing Involvement
A Broad Range of Powers
Regulating and Providing Health Care
Expanding Services, and Growing Costs
Political Support
Hospital Funding and Long-term Care
Medicaid Managed Care
Expanding Health Coverage
Regulating Health Services
Health Department Institutions
Vital Statistics and Other Responsibilities
Mental Hygiene
Mental Health
Mental Retardation
Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
Overseeing Quality of Care


10. Education


Overview of Education Policymaking
The Regents: Broad Powers
The Constitution and the Board of Regents
Early Public Education in New York
Academics: Curriculum, Teaching, and Assessment
Operational Mandates
Charter Schools
School Finance
Private Schools and Home Schooling
The Lottery and Education
Higher Education
Creating SUNY
SUNY University Centers
City University of New York
Influences on Education Policy
Regulation of Professions
Serving Individuals with Disabilities
State Museum and Archives


11. Transportation, Economic Development, and Public Authorities


Early Transportation and the Great Canal
Growth and Decline of the Canal System
Changes in Administrative Structure
The Modern Department of Transportation
The Thruway
Mass Transportation
Airports and Other Responsibilities
Economic Development
The Business Climate
The "Coupon" Strategy
A Major New Incentive Program
What Works in Economic Development?
New York's Advantages and Competitive Challenges
Public Authorities


12. Labor and Family Assistance


An Overview
Helping the Poor: Early Efforts
State and County Governments Get Involved
Cash Assistance
The Road to Welfare Reform
The Role of the State Constitution
The Changing Politics of Welfare
Welfare Reform in New York
After Reform
A New Administrative Structure
A State and Local System
Office of Children and Family Services
Child Care
Protecting Children
Foster Care
Labor Policy in New York
Labor Starts to Gain Power
Early Legislation
The Triangle Fire Leads to More Laws
Labor's Modern Political Involvement
The Labor Department Today
Unemployment Insurance
Job Services
Regulating Wages
Workers' Compensation


13. Public Protection


Crime in New York
The Penal Law
Evolving Concepts of What the Law Should Proscribe
The Police
The State Police
Other Police and Peace Officers
Prosecution and the Courts
Protections for the Accused
The Role of the Attorney General
Disposition of Offenders and Sentencing
The Prisons: Punishment and Rehabilitation
Development of Prisons in New York
Modern Administration of Corrections
Recent Changes in Corrections
Probation and Parole
Younger Offenders
Tougher Punishment, More Programming
Commission of Correction
Help for Crime Victims
Homeland Security


14. Environment and Parks


Long Before Earth Day
"Make It a Forest Forever"
The Conservation Department
The Emerging Issue of Environmental Quality
DEC and the Environmental Conservation Law
DEC Today
Lands and Forests
Conservation Officers and Forest Rangers
Related Agencies
The Adirondacks: A Special Case
Environmental Progress
Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Origins of the State Parks System
Historic Preservation
A Broad Agenda


15. The People's Government


Political Parties
Regulation of Lobbying
New Rules for Lobbying
A Variety of Interests in Albany
Campaign Contributions
What Purpose Do Political Contributions Serve?
What Can a Citizen Do?
The Role of Interest Groups
Strategies for Influencing Policy
Open Government
The News Media
Performance Measurement in New York
Does Measurement Improve Performance?
Performance Measurement on the Rise Nationally


16. Federalism: What Is the Role of State Governments?


Federalism Today
Why a Federal Form of Government?
Still Important
The Future of Federalism


Appendix. A Legislative Case Study: Domestic Relations Law


An up-to-date description of the institutions and activities of New York State government.


This is the first comprehensive examination of New York State government in more than two decades. Robert Ward's book provides readers a thorough grounding in the state Constitution, the three branches of government in Albany, and the broad scope of state activities and services. This highly readable text presents rich and valuable insights into the competition that powerful actors engage in to develop and carry out public policies.

The treatment of each major top such as health, education, public safety, environment, jobs and welfare, and transportationstarts with historical development, critically important given the Empire State's leading role in the making of America.

Overall, the book sheds light on the reasons and the ways that New York State government changes over time in response to motivated leaders and the will of the people. It includes assessments of the State's leading governors and other instrumental players involved in the governmental process.

Robert B. Ward is Director of Research at the Public Policy Institute of New York.