January 13, 2016: Governor Cuomo’s Proposal for Constitution Commission Praised by New York State Bar Association
New York State Bar Association President David P. Miranda commends Governor Cuomo for calling for a preparatory commission to develop a blueprint for a possible constitutional convention.
“By proposing for a preparatory commission, Governor Cuomo recognizes the importance of the 2017 vote in shaping the future direction of the state,” he said. “We thank him for his leadership on an important issue to our Association.”
In November 2015, the State Bar Association called on state government leaders to create a state-funded, non-partisan preparatory commission to provide research and analysis in advance of the 2017 referendum on whether to authorize a convention to amend, revise or rewrite the state Constitution.
“The referendum, mandated by the Constitution itself, gives citizens a more direct means of amending the Constitution,” said Miranda of Albany (Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti). The last state Constitutional Convention was held in 1967.
The governor, who has proposed investing $1 million in creating a preparatory commission prior to the 2017 referendum. If approved, constitutional convention delegates would be elected in 2018 and meet in Albany in 2019. The Association suggests the commission educate the public about the state Constitution, proposals for change and simplification; research past conventions; and prepare impartial background materials for 2017 voters—and for delegates—if a convention is held.
The Association report notes that since 1914, state officials have created five such preparatory commissions.
The report was written by the Committee on the New York State Constitution, which was created by Miranda and chaired by Henry M. Greenberg of Albany (Greenberg Traurig).
The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
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