A06526 Summary:

BILL NO    A06526 

SAME AS    SAME AS S02453

SPONSOR    Kolb (MS)

COSPNSR    Raia, Tobacco, Corwin, Conte, Giglio, Lopez P, Calhoun, Castelli,
           Palmesano

MLTSPNSR   Hawley, Sayward

Ren Art 20 to be Art 21, add Art 20 SS1-12, Constn

Provides for initiative and referendum and recall; empowers the electors with
the ability to propose statutes and amendments to the constitution, to approve
or reject statutes or parts of statutes; and to remove elective officers.
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A06526 Actions:

BILL NO    A06526 

03/21/2011 referred to energy
03/22/2011 to attorney-general for opinion
03/23/2011 reference changed to judiciary
04/27/2011 opinion referred to judiciary
01/04/2012 referred to judiciary
01/18/2012 to attorney-general for opinion
02/16/2012 opinion referred to judiciary
06/05/2012 held for consideration in judiciary
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A06526 Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
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A06526 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A6526
 
SPONSOR: Kolb (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY proposing the addition of a new article 20 to the constitution, in relation to providing for initiative and referendum and recall   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To foster greater participatory democracy in New York State by allowing voters to: 1) place proposed laws on the ballot for New Yorkers to adopt or reject ("initiative"); 2) place an already existing law on the ballot for New Yorkers to reject or accept ("referendum"); and 3) place the question of whether to remove and replace a public official on the ballot ("recall").   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 and its implementing portions establish the use of initiative in New York State. Initiative is defined as the power of electors to propose statutes and constitutional amendments for approval or rejection by the voters. In brief, the initiative measure is submitted by present- ing a petition to the Secretary of State containing both wording of the initiative for a statute and signatures of electors that constitute at least 5% of the total votes cast for all gubernatorial candidates at the last election for governor. If the petition's initiative measure proposes a constitutional amendment, then the petition must have at least 8% of the total votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. Section 2 and its implementing components authorize referendum in New York. Referendum is described as the power of electors to approve or reject statutes (or parts of statutes). This resolution prohibits refer- endum from being employed in cases of urgency statutes (emergency legis- lation), statutes calling elections and statutes authorizing tax levies or appropriations for the State's current expenses. A referendum measure shall be proposed by presenting to the Secretary of State, within ninety (90) days after the statute to be affected by the proposed referendum has become effective, a petition signed by at least 5% of the total votes cast for gubernatorial candidates in the last election for gover- nor. If an initiative or referendum measure is approved by a majority of votes, it takes effect the day after the election unless the measure states otherwise. In the event provisions of two or more measures approved at the same election conflict, those provisions of the measure receiving the greater number of affirmative votes shall govern. This resolution also permits cities or counties to exercise initiative and referendum powers. Section 6 and its ancillary sections authorize the use of recall in New York State for all statewide elected officers, state senators, assembly- members, supreme court judges and trial court judges. Recall authorizes electors to remove an elective officer. If electors seek to recall a statewide officer, then the petition must be signed by at least 12% of the last vote for the particular office. Recall of a state senator, assemblymember, and supreme and trial court judges shall require signa- tures equal to at least 20% of the prior vote for the office.   JUSTIFICATION: New York State is facing several policy challenges in a very difficult fiscal climate. While few people would disagree with the common sense proposition that it is best to confront such challenges by turning to as many people as possible to either propose new legislation or amend existing legislation, New York continues to lag behind more progressive states by failing to enact initiative and referendum ("I and R"). I and R would engage all New Yorkers by allowing them to propose new laws ("Initiative") or alter existing ones ("Referendum") and, if they obtain the requisite support from their fellow New Yorkers, place I and R meas- ures on the ballot at elections for all New Yorkers to consider. I and R, at its heart, is the means to ensure real popular control of public affairs. Since it is the New York populace that is affected by laws enacted in the legislature, why shouldn't this same populace enjoy the right to approve or reject laws that a majority of New York voters choose to approve or reject. This resolution would help ensure the popu- lar control of public affairs by New York citizens through authorizing I and R. However, there are safeguards in the resolution to ensure that an excessive number of measures do not get on the ballot. Any initiative or referendum measure must obtain at least 5% of all votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election. 5% of the votes cast in the 2002 gubernatorial contest equals 234,549 persons. As for recall, the basis for this procedure is the well accepted maxim that voters should retain the right of control over their elected offi- cials. No one would seriously dispute that a candidate for public office may be elected for several reasons and some of the reasons may bear very little relation to the candidate's ability to perform public duties effectively. Recall recognizes this by acknowledging that if people can be elected to public office for non-job related reasons, they can also be removed from office for a variety of reasons. Another strong argument for establishing I and R and recall in New York is as an important check on the power of special interests in the State. Twenty-four states presently allow citizen initiative measures of some type. As for the argument that I and R and recall can be abused for frivolous reasons or proposals, it must be kept in mind that the voters can reject any measure they are unsure of and, in fact, one could argue that the voters should be trusted to act in the public interest. In sum, direct democracy measures such as I and R and recall can empower New York citizens whenever their elected officials ignore their concerns.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.4854 - 2005-2006, Held in Judiciary Committee; A.3665 - 2007-2008, Held in Judiciary Committee; A.6815 - 2009-2010, Held in Judiciary Committee;   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: Possibly slightly increased administrative costs.   EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage by two separately elected Legislatures and approval by the voters after such passage.
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A06526 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          6526
 
                               2011-2012 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                     March 21, 2011
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  KOLB,  RAIA, TOBACCO, CORWIN, CONTE, GIGLIO,
          P. LOPEZ, CALHOUN, CASTELLI -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A.  HAWLEY,
          SAYWARD -- read once and referred to the Committee on Energy
 
                    CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY
 
        proposing  the  addition  of  a  new  article 20 to the constitution, in

          relation to providing for initiative and referendum and recall
 
     1    Section 1. Resolved (if the Senate concur), That  article  20  of  the
     2  constitution  be  renumbered article 21 and a new article 20 be added to
     3  read as follows:
     4                                 ARTICLE XX
     5                    INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM AND RECALL
     6    Section 1. 1. The initiative is the power of the electors  to  propose
     7  statutes and amendments to the constitution and to adopt or reject them.
     8    2.  An  initiative measure may be proposed by presenting to the secre-
     9  tary of state a petition that sets forth the text of the proposed  stat-
    10  ute  or  amendment  to  the  constitution  and is certified to have been
    11  signed by electors equal in number to five percent  in  the  case  of  a

    12  statute,  and eight percent in the case of an amendment to the constitu-
    13  tion, of the votes for all candidates for governor at the last  guberna-
    14  torial election.
    15    3.  The  secretary  of state shall then submit the measure at the next
    16  general election held at least one  hundred  thirty-one  days  after  it
    17  qualifies or at any special statewide election held prior to that gener-
    18  al  election. The governor may call a special statewide election for the
    19  measure.
    20    4. An initiative measure embracing more than one subject  may  not  be
    21  submitted to the electors or have any effect.
    22    5.  An  initiative  measure shall not include or exclude any political
    23  subdivision  of  the  state  from  the  application  or  effect  of  its

    24  provisions based upon approval or disapproval of the initiative measure,
    25  or based upon the casting of a specified percentage of votes in favor of
    26  the measure, by the electors of that political subdivision.
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD89062-01-1

        A. 6526                             2
 
     1    6.  An  initiative measure shall not contain alternative or cumulative
     2  provisions wherein one or more of  those  provisions  would  become  law
     3  depending  upon  the  casting  of a specified percentage of votes for or
     4  against the measure.

     5    §  2.  1.  The  referendum  is the power of the electors to approve or
     6  reject statutes or parts of statutes except urgency  statutes,  statutes
     7  calling  elections,  and  statutes providing for tax levies or appropri-
     8  ations for usual current expenses of the state.
     9    2. A referendum measure may be proposed by presenting to the secretary
    10  of state, within ninety days after the effective date of the statute,  a
    11  petition  certified  to  have been signed by electors equal in number to
    12  five percent of the votes for all candidates for governor  at  the  last
    13  gubernatorial election, asking that the statute or part of it be submit-
    14  ted  to  the electors. In the case of a statute enacted by a bill passed

    15  by the legislature on or before the date the legislature adjourns in the
    16  second calendar year of the biennium of the legislative session, and  in
    17  the  possession of the governor after that date, the petition may not be
    18  presented on or after January first next following  the  effective  date
    19  unless  a  copy  of  the  petition  is submitted to the attorney general
    20  pursuant to subdivision four of section three  of  this  article  before
    21  January first.
    22    3.  The  secretary  of state shall then submit the measure at the next
    23  general election held at least thirty-one days after it qualifies or  at
    24  a  special  statewide  election held prior to that general election. The
    25  governor may call a special statewide election for the measure.

    26    § 3. 1. An initiative statute or referendum approved by a majority  of
    27  votes thereon takes effect the day after the election unless the measure
    28  provides  otherwise. If a referendum petition is filed against a part of
    29  a statute the remainder shall not be delayed from going into effect.
    30    2. If provisions of two or more measures approved at the same election
    31  conflict, those of the measure receiving the  highest  affirmative  vote
    32  shall prevail.
    33    3.  The  legislature  may  amend or repeal referendum statutes. It may
    34  amend or repeal an initiative statute by another  statute  that  becomes
    35  effective only when approved by the electors unless the initiative stat-
    36  ute permits amendment or repeal without their approval.

    37    4.  Prior  to  circulation of an initiative or referendum petition for
    38  signatures, a copy shall be submitted to the attorney general who  shall
    39  prepare a title and summary of the measure as provided by law.
    40    5.  The  legislature shall provide the manner in which petitions shall
    41  be circulated, presented, and certified, and measures submitted  to  the
    42  electors.
    43    § 4. 1. Initiative and referendum powers may be exercised by the elec-
    44  tors  of each city or county under procedures that the legislature shall
    45  provide. Except as provided  in  subdivisions  two  and  three  of  this
    46  section, this section does not affect a city having a charter.
    47    2.  A  city  or county initiative measure shall not include or exclude

    48  any part of the city or county from the application  or  effect  of  its
    49  provisions based upon approval or disapproval of the initiative measure,
    50  or based upon the casting of a specified percentage of votes in favor of
    51  the measure, by the electors of the city or county or any part thereof.
    52    3.  A  city or county initiative measure shall not contain alternative
    53  or cumulative provisions wherein one or more of those  provisions  would
    54  become law depending upon the casting of a specified percentage of votes
    55  for or against the measure.

        A. 6526                             3
 
     1    §  5. No amendment to the constitution, and no statute proposed to the
     2  electors by the legislature or by initiative, that names any  individual

     3  to  hold  any  office, or names or identifies any private corporation to
     4  perform any function or to have any power or duty, may be  submitted  to
     5  the electors or have any effect.
     6    §  6.  Recall is the power of the electors to remove an elective offi-
     7  cer.
     8    § 7. 1. Recall of a state officer is initiated by  delivering  to  the
     9  secretary of state a petition alleging reason for recall. Sufficiency of
    10  reason is not reviewable. Proponents have one hundred sixty days to file
    11  signed petitions.
    12    2. A petition to recall a statewide officer must be signed by electors
    13  equal  in number to twelve percent of the last vote for the office, with
    14  signatures from each of five counties equal in number to one percent  of

    15  the  last  vote  for  the  office  in  the  county. Signatures to recall
    16  senators, members of the assembly, and  judges  of  supreme  courts  and
    17  trial  courts  must  equal in number twenty percent of the last vote for
    18  the office.
    19    3. The secretary of state shall maintain a  continuous  count  of  the
    20  signatures certified to that office.
    21    §  8. 1. An election to determine whether to recall an officer and, if
    22  appropriate, to elect a successor shall be called by  the  governor  and
    23  held not less than sixty days nor more than eighty days from the date of
    24  certification of sufficient signatures.
    25    2.  A  recall election may be conducted within one hundred eighty days

    26  from the date of certification of sufficient signatures  in  order  that
    27  the  election  may  be  consolidated  with  the next regularly scheduled
    28  election occurring wholly or partially within the same  jurisdiction  in
    29  which  the  recall election is held, if the number of voters eligible to
    30  vote at that next regularly scheduled  election  equal  at  least  fifty
    31  percent of all the voters eligible to vote at the recall election.
    32    3.  If  the majority vote on the question is to recall, the officer is
    33  removed and, if there is a  candidate,  the  candidate  who  receives  a
    34  plurality  is  the  successor.  The  officer may not be a candidate, nor
    35  shall there be any candidacy for an office filed pursuant to section two
    36  of article six.

    37    § 9. The  legislature  shall  provide  for  circulation,  filing,  and
    38  certification  of  petitions,  nomination  of candidates, and the recall
    39  election.
    40    § 10. If recall of the governor or secretary of  state  is  initiated,
    41  the  recall  duties  of that office shall be performed by the lieutenant
    42  governor or comptroller, respectively.
    43    § 11. A state officer who is not recalled shall be reimbursed  by  the
    44  state  for the officer's recall election expenses legally and personally
    45  incurred. Another recall may not be initiated against the officer  until
    46  six months after the election.
    47    § 12. The legislature shall provide for recall of local officers. This

    48  section  does  not affect counties and cities whose charters provide for
    49  recall.
    50    § 2. Resolved (if the Senate concur), That the foregoing amendment  be
    51  referred  to  the  first regular legislative session convening after the
    52  next succeeding general election of members of  the  assembly,  and,  in
    53  conformity  with  section  1  of  article  19  of  the  constitution, be
    54  published for 3 months previous to the time of such election.
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