Election Day may still be months away but many political leaders and watchdog groups in Albany are gearing up for a debate over a referendum question that’ll be on the ballot this November that supporters say could improve how state government works, and that opponents fear could make unnecessary changes to the New York State Constitution.
Every 20 years New Yorkers can vote on whether to hold what’s called a constitutional convention, where a commission considers revisions to the State Constitution. While supporters argue it is the only way to push through major reforms that the legislature won’t address, holding a convention opens up the entire constitution to review, which is why critics oppose it. They worry revisions could roll back rights for workers, aid for the needy, and wilderness protections for the Adirondacks.
This week, we welcome a panel of scholars and experts to delve into the pros and cons of holding a constitutional convention. Joining the discussion are Christopher Bopst, a constitutional scholar; Neil Woodworth, the CEO and Executive Director of the Adirondack Mountain Club; John Sheehan, Director of Communications at Adirondack Council; and Fred Monroe, the former supervisor for the Town of Chester and the Executive Director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board.
The ballot question on whether to call a constitutional convention will be debated this summer and fall and a decision made by voters November 7th. To learn more, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany has put together a wealth of information online at www.rockinst.org/nys_concon2017