|SAME AS||SAME AS S00709|
|Amd Art 3 SS13, 14 & 16, Art 19 S1, Art 4 S7, ren Art 20 to be Art 21, add Art 20 SS1 - 11, Constn|
|Provides for initiative and referendum in New York State for the People as electors to propose or reject laws and submit amendments to the state constitution.|
|02/09/2011||referred to judiciary|
|02/11/2011||to attorney-general for opinion|
|04/27/2011||opinion referred to judiciary|
Go to top
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A4978 SPONSOR: Schroeder
TITLE OF BILL: CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY proposing amendments to the constitution, in relation to providing the electors with the power of initiative and referendum   PURPOSE: This proposal would amend the New York State constitution to reserve for the People of the State the powers of initiative and referendum. Sections 1 through 5 of the concurrent resolution would amend Section 13 of Article 3, Section 14 of Article 3, Section 1 of Article 19, Section 16 of Article 3 and Section 7 of Article 4 of the State Constitution, respectively, to accommodate a new Article 20 to reserve to the People of the state the powers of initiative and referendum (I&R). Section 6 of the concurrent resolution would renumber Article 20 of the Constitution Article 21 and provides for a new Article 20. The new Arti- cle 20 would reserve to New Yorkers the power to propose laws and amend- ments to the Constitution, and to adopt or reject laws independent of the Legislature. Initiative is the power of the electors to propose statutes and amendments to the Constitution and referendum is the power to approve or reject statutes or part of statutes. For an initiative or referendum measure to appear on a ballot, a petition setting forth the proposal must be filed with the State Board of Elections and be signed by electors at least equal in number to 5 percent of the votes cast for all candidates for governor at the last gubernatorial election. Such signatures must include at least 5,000 signatures from each of at least three-fifths of the State's congressional districts. The process for gathering signatures for a petition in support of an I&R proposal and for presenting the petition to the Board of Elections shall be conducted in substantial conformity with Election Law provisions governing inde- pendent petitions. Prior to circulation of a petition for signatures, a copy of the initi- ative or referendum shall be submitted to the Attorney General who shall prepare a title and summary of the measure which shall not give any indication of support or opposition to such measure. The measure shall also be submitted to the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission for tech- nical comments on the form of the measure. Any action or proceeding in which a question arises as to the validity of a measure or which chal- lenges the title and summary of such measure shall be granted a prefer- ence in all courts. To be enacted, an initiative or referendum measure must be approved by a majority of the electors voting on the measure statewide. A measure proposing or rejecting a statute that has been approved shall be effec- tive on the first day of January of the year next succeeding its passage unless the measure expressly provides otherwise. A measure amending the Constitution must be approved by a majority of the electors voting on the measure statewide in two successive elections in which there are candidates for the State Senate and Assembly. I&R shall be permitted for any measure except the following: (i) calling for elections; (ii) appropriating funds, except for a single object or purpose; (iii) naming any individuals to hold office; or (iv) granting any power or duty to any private entity or directing such entity to perform a function. An initiative measure embracing more than one subject is not permitted and a maximum of four discrete measures may be submitted at anyone general election. The Legislature shall be prohibited from repealing or amending a measure adopted or rejected through I&R for a period of two years. After two years, any legislative proposal to amend or repeal an I&R measure shall be put to the voters at the next general election for approval or rejection. This constitutional amendment will also reserve to the citizens of all cities, towns and counties the power of I&R. Signatures of electors of a municipality equal in number to at least 5 percent of the votes cast in such municipality for all candidates for governor at the last gubernato- rial election will be required to propose any measure by I&R and an affirmative vote of the majority of electors voting on the measure will be required to be enacted. Petitions shall be submitted to the county board of elections which will resolve challenges to such petitions. Section 7 would provide for submission of this constitutional amendment to the first regular session of the Legislature after the next succeed- ing general election of the member's of the Assembly.   EXISTING LAW: The People of the State do not currently have the constitutional right to enact laws, amend the constitution or repeal laws by initiative or referendum. Section 13 of Article 3 of the Constitution provides that no law shall be enacted except by bill. Section 14 of Article 3 of the Constitution provides that no bill shall become law except by the assent of a majority of the members elected to each branch of the Legislature. Section 1 of Article 19 of the Constitution provides that proposed amendments to the Constitution shall be effective if they are agreed to by a majority of the members of both branches of two successive Legisla- tures and subsequently approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon. Section 7 of Article 4 of the Constitution provides that every bill that passes the Legislature must be presented to the Governor for approval. Section 16 of Article 3 provides that no act shall be passed which provides that an existing law shall be deemed a part of the act, except by inserting the law into the act. Amending the State Constitution to allow initiative and referendum will provide the citizens of New York the ability to enact laws which are specifically addressed to their concerns. This procedure is a reflection of the basic tenet of democracy which embodies government by the People, of the People and for the People. I&R is an integral mechanism for voters to exercise a direct and active role in enacting and defeating laws. The People of New York deserve a greater voice in government and citizenry. I&R will provide voters stronger representation and allow them to act when their elected representatives fail to do so.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010: Referred to judiciary   BUDGET IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: That the foregoing amendments to referred to the first regular legislative session convening after the next succeeding general election of members of the assembly, and, in conformity with section 1 of article 19 of the constitution, be published for 3 months previous to the time of such election.
Go to top
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4978 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN ASSEMBLY February 9, 2011 ___________ Introduced by M. of A. SCHROEDER -- read once and referred to the Committee on Judiciary CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY proposing amendments to the constitution, in relation to providing the electors with the power of initiative and referendum 1 Section 1. Resolved (if the Senate concur), That section 13 of article 2 3 of the constitution be amended to read as follows: 3 § 13. The enacting clause of all bills shall be "The People of the 4 State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as 5 follows," and no law shall be enacted except by bill; except as other- 6 wise provided in article twenty of this constitution. 7 § 2. RESOLVED (if the Senate concur), That section 14 of article 3 of 8 the constitution be amended to read as follows: 9 § 14. a. No bill shall be passed or become a law unless it shall have 10 been printed and upon the desks of the members, in its final form, at 11 least three calendar legislative days prior to its final passage, unless 12 the governor, or the acting governor, shall have certified, under his or 13 her hand and the seal of the state, the facts which in his or her opin- 14 ion necessitate an immediate vote thereon, in which case it must never- 15 theless be upon the desks of the members in final form, not necessarily 16 printed, before its final passage; nor shall any bill be passed or 17 become a law, except by the assent of a majority of the members elected 18 to each branch of the legislature; and upon the last reading of a bill, 19 no amendment thereof shall be allowed, and the question upon its final 20 passage shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the ayes and nays 21 entered on the journal. 22 b. This section shall not apply to any initiative or referendum that 23 is subject to the provisions of article twenty of this constitution. 24 § 3. RESOLVED (if the Senate concur), That section 1 of article 19 of 25 the constitution be amended to read as follows: 26 Section 1. a. Any amendment or amendments to this constitution may be 27 proposed in the senate and assembly whereupon such amendment or amend- EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD89029-01-1A. 4978 2 1 ments shall be referred to the attorney-general whose duty it shall be 2 within twenty days thereafter to render an opinion in writing to the 3 senate and assembly as to the effect of such amendment or amendments 4 upon other provisions of the constitution. Upon receiving such opinion, 5 if the amendment or amendments as proposed or as amended shall be agreed 6 to by a majority of the members elected to each of the two houses, such 7 proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on their journals, and 8 the ayes and noes taken thereon, and referred to the next regular legis- 9 lative session convening after the succeeding general election of 10 members of the assembly, and shall be published for three months previ- 11 ous to the time of making such choice; and if in such legislative 12 session, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by a 13 majority of all the members elected to each house, then it shall be the 14 duty of the legislature to submit each proposed amendment or amendments 15 to the people for approval in such manner and at such times as the 16 legislature shall prescribe; and if the people shall approve and ratify 17 such amendment or amendments by a majority of the electors voting there- 18 on, such amendment or amendments shall become a part of the constitution 19 on the first day of January next after such approval. Neither the fail- 20 ure of the attorney-general to render an opinion concerning such a 21 proposed amendment nor his or her failure to do so timely shall affect 22 [ th] the validity of such proposed amendment or legislative action ther- 23 eon. 24 b. This section shall not apply to an amendment by initiative subject 25 to the provisions of article twenty of this constitution. 26 § 4. RESOLVED (if the Senate concur), That section 16 of article 3 of 27 the constitution be amended to read as follows: 28 § 16. a. No act shall be passed which shall provide that any existing 29 law, or any part thereof, shall be made or deemed a part of said act, or 30 which shall enact that any existing law, or part thereof, shall be 31 applicable, except by inserting it in such act. 32 b. This section shall not apply to any initiative or referendum 33 subject to the provisions of article twenty of this constitution. 34 § 5. RESOLVED (if the Senate concur), That section 7 of article 4 of 35 the constitution be amended to read as follows: 36 § 7. a. Every bill which shall have passed the senate and assembly 37 shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the governor; if the 38 governor approve, he or she shall sign it; but if not, he or she shall 39 return it with his or her objections to the house in which it shall have 40 originated, which shall enter the objections at large on the journal, 41 and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration, two-thirds 42 of the members elected to that house shall agree to pass the bill, it 43 shall be sent together with the objections, to the other house, by which 44 it shall likewise be reconsidered; and if approved by two-thirds of the 45 members elected to that house, it shall become a law notwithstanding the 46 objections of the governor. In all such cases the votes in both houses 47 shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the members 48 voting shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively. If 49 any bill shall not be returned by the governor within ten days (Sundays 50 excepted) after it shall have been presented to him or her, the same 51 shall be a law in like manner as if he or she had signed it, unless the 52 legislature shall, by their adjournment, prevent its return, in which 53 case it shall not become a law without the approval of the governor. No 54 bill shall become a law after the final adjournment of the legislature, 55 unless approved by the governor within thirty days after such adjourn- 56 ment. If any bill presented to the governor contain several items ofA. 4978 3 1 appropriation of money, the governor may object to one or more of such 2 items while approving of the other portion of the bill. In such case the 3 governor shall append to the bill, at the time of signing it, a state- 4 ment of the items to which he or she objects; and the appropriation so 5 objected to shall not take effect. If the legislature be in session, he 6 or she shall transmit to the house in which the bill originated a copy 7 of such statement, and the items objected to shall be separately recon- 8 sidered. If on reconsideration one or more of such items be approved by 9 two-thirds of the members elected to each house, the same shall be part 10 of the law, notwithstanding the objections of the governor. All the 11 provisions of this section, in relation to bills not approved by the 12 governor, shall apply in cases in which he or she shall withhold 13 approval from any item or items contained in a bill appropriating money. 14 b. This section shall not apply to any initiative or referendum that 15 is subject to the provisions of article twenty of this constitution. 16 § 6. RESOLVED (if the Senate concur), That article 20 of the constitu- 17 tion be renumbered article 21 and a new article 20 be added to read as 18 follows: 19 ARTICLE XX 20 Initiative and Referendum 21 Section 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this constitution, 22 the People reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and to 23 propose amendments to the constitution, and to adopt or reject the same, 24 at the polls, independent of the legislature, and also reserve the 25 power, at their own option, to so adopt or reject any act, or section or 26 part of any act, passed by the legislature. 27 § 2. As used in this article: a. Initiative is the power of the elec- 28 tors to propose amendments to the constitution and to propose statutes; 29 and 30 b. Referendum is the power of the electors to approve or reject stat- 31 utes or parts of statutes. 32 § 3. Initiative may be used for any measure embracing a single object 33 or purpose, except the following: calling elections; appropriating 34 funds, except for an initiative proposing an appropriation for a single 35 object or purpose; naming any individuals to hold any office; or naming 36 or identifying any private corporation or other private entity to 37 perform any function or to have any power or duty. Such measures may not 38 be submitted to the electors and shall not have the force and effect of 39 law. 40 § 4. An initiative or referendum measure may be proposed by presenting 41 to the state board of elections a petition that sets forth the text of 42 the proposed statute, constitutional amendment or referendum and that 43 has been signed by electors equal in number to at least five percent of 44 the votes cast for all candidates for governor at the last gubernatorial 45 election. Such signatures must include at least five thousand signatures 46 from each of at least three-fifths of the congressional districts of the 47 state. 48 § 5. a. Petitions for an initiative or referendum measure shall be in 49 substantially the same form as prescribed by the election law for inde- 50 pendent nominating petitions, and shall be circulated and presented in 51 the manner prescribed by such law, except that the petition shall state 52 that the registered voter desires to have the specific initiative or 53 referendum question noted on the petition placed on the ballot instead 54 of a candidate.A. 4978 4 1 b. Petitions shall be submitted to the state board of elections. A 2 signature made earlier than one year prior to the next general election 3 shall not be counted. Challenges to such petitions shall be resolved by 4 the state board of elections, subject to judicial review as provided for 5 by law. No challenge to an initiative or referendum may be filed more 6 than ten days after submission of petitions to the state board of 7 elections, and any such challenge shall be finally resolved by the state 8 board of elections within ten days of its filing. 9 c. Measures proposing or rejecting statutes shall be placed on the 10 ballot by the state board of elections at the next general election held 11 at least ninety days after such measure is submitted. Measures propos- 12 ing amendments to the constitution shall be placed on the ballot by the 13 state board of elections at the next general election in which there are 14 candidates for the office of member of the senate or assembly held at 15 least ninety days after the measure is submitted to the state board of 16 elections and at the next such general election. 17 § 6. a. Prior to the circulation of an initiative or referendum peti- 18 tion for signatures, a copy shall be submitted to the attorney general 19 of the state of New York who shall prepare a title and summary, not to 20 exceed one hundred words, which shall appear on the petition and on the 21 ballot for each initiative or referendum and which shall give no indi- 22 cation of support or opposition to such measure, within twenty days 23 after such measure is submitted to him or her. 24 b. A copy of such initiative or referendum petition shall also be 25 submitted to the New York state legislative bill drafting commission or 26 its successor prior to circulation for signatures. Such commission shall 27 render technical comments on the form of the proposed measure, with no 28 indication of support or opposition, to the proponents of such measure 29 within twenty days of submission. 30 c. No action or inaction by the attorney general or the failure of the 31 legislative bill drafting commission or its successor to provide 32 comments with respect to an initiative or referendum petition, or to 33 timely do so, shall affect the validity of such initiative or referendum 34 petition or the action of the electors thereon. 35 d. Any action or proceeding in which any question arises as to the 36 validity of an initiative or referendum measure, whether an initiative 37 or referendum measure should appear on the ballot or which challenges 38 the title and summary of such measure prepared by the attorney general 39 as failing to accurately describe such measure, shall be heard in the 40 supreme court of the state and preferred over all other civil causes in 41 all courts of the state and shall be heard and determined in preference 42 to all other civil business pending therein. No action or proceeding 43 challenging whether an initiative or referendum measure may appear on 44 the ballot or which challenges any action or inaction by the attorney 45 general respecting the title or summary of such measure may be brought 46 more than fourteen days after action by the attorney general pursuant to 47 subdivision a of this section or, if the attorney general fails to act, 48 then no later than fourteen days after the deadline for such action 49 pursuant to such subdivision a. 50 § 7. Except to the extent required by section eight of this article, a 51 maximum of four discrete initiative measures, or four discrete referen- 52 dum measures, or any combination of discrete initiative measures or 53 referendum measures not to exceed a total of four may be submitted to 54 the electors at any one general election. If more than four measures 55 qualify, those initiative measures and referenda measures submitted toA. 4978 5 1 the state board of elections earliest in time shall be placed on the 2 ballot. 3 § 8. Any initiative or referendum not placed on a ballot because of 4 the provisions of section seven of this article shall automatically be 5 placed on the ballot for the next general election, notwithstanding the 6 provisions of section seven of this article. 7 § 9. a. To be enacted, an initiative or referendum measure proposing 8 or rejecting a statute must be approved by a majority of the electors of 9 the state voting on the measure state-wide. An initiative or referendum 10 measure that has been approved shall take effect on the first day of 11 January of the year next succeeding its passage unless the measure 12 expressly provides otherwise. If a referendum petition is approved 13 repealing a part of a statute, the remainder of the statute shall not be 14 delayed from going into effect. 15 b. A measure amending the constitution must be approved by a majority 16 of the electors of the state voting on the measure in two successive 17 elections in which there are candidates for state senate or state assem- 18 bly on the ballot. Such measure shall take effect on the first day of 19 January of the year next succeeding its second approval unless the meas- 20 ure expressly provides otherwise. 21 c. If provisions of two or more measures approved at the same election 22 conflict, those of the measure receiving the highest number of affirma- 23 tive votes shall prevail. 24 d. A referendum measure rejecting all or part of a statute cannot be 25 repealed, amended or otherwise reconsidered by the legislature for a 26 period of two years. A measure adopted through initiative cannot be 27 repealed, amended or otherwise reconsidered by the legislature for a 28 period of two years. After two years no law to amend, repeal or other- 29 wise reconsider a measure adopted by initiative or referendum shall take 30 effect until it shall, at a general election, have been submitted to the 31 people, and have received a majority of all the votes cast for and 32 against it at such election, nor shall it be so submitted to the people 33 within three months after its passage. 34 e. Any referendum or initiative adopted by the voters may be repealed, 35 amended, or otherwise reconsidered by the people at any time through the 36 process established by this article for initiative or referendum meas- 37 ures. 38 § 10. Initiative and referendum in cities, towns, villages and coun- 39 ties. a. Initiative and referendum powers are reserved for every city, 40 town, village and county in the state as to all local matters that such 41 municipality is or shall be empowered to act pursuant to article IX of 42 this constitution. 43 b. Initiative and referendum in cities, towns, villages and counties 44 shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this article; 45 provided, however, that: 46 (i) signatures of registered electors of such municipality equal in 47 number to at least thirty thousand or five percent of the votes cast in 48 such city, town, village or county for all candidates for governor at 49 the last gubernatorial election, whichever is less, shall be required to 50 propose any measure by initiative and referendum; 51 (ii) the affirmative vote of the majority of electors of the munici- 52 pality voting on the measure shall be required to enact such measure; 53 (iii) petitions shall be submitted to the county board of elections 54 which shall have the powers conferred and the duties imposed on the 55 state board of elections by this article; andA. 4978 6 1 (iv) the provisions of subdivision b of section six of this article 2 shall not be applicable. 3 § 11. This article of the constitution shall be in all respects self- 4 executing, except that the manner and method of exercising the power of 5 initiative and referendum may be prescribed pursuant to law, consistent 6 with and limited by the provisions of this article. 7 § 7. RESOLVED (if the Senate concur), That the foregoing amendments be 8 referred to the first regular legislative session convening after the 9 next succeeding general election of members of the assembly, and, in 10 conformity with section 1 of article 19 of the constitution, be 11 published for 3 months previous to the time of such election.