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New York Senate Passes Bill Setting Up the Initiative Process

Published on June 9, 2011, by in General.

On June 7, the New York State Senate passed S709, which proposes a change to the New York State Constitution. It would create the initiative process in New York, for statewide laws, and also for local government. The vote was 47-15. All of the “no” votes were Democrats.

Now the bill goes to the Assembly. If it passes there, because it is a proposed constitutional change, it must pass both houses of the legislature again in 2013. Then the voters would decide in November 2014 whether to pass the idea.

The statewide initiative is a gateway for virtually any election law reform that has popular support. If New York state had the initiative process, the voters could probably qualify a proposed initiative for redistricting reform, or ballot access reform, or reform of the restrictive laws that don’t permit voters to switch parties before a primary unless they make the switch during the year before the election. It will be interesting to see if Independent Voting, formerly known as the Committee for a Unified Independent Party, and before that the New Alliance Party, will support S709. That group is very well organized in New York city. Virtually all the “no” votes in the Senate were New York city Senators.

The bill would require a statewide initiative to obtain a number of signatures equal to 5% of the last vote for Governor. Currently that number is 232,709. Thanks to Paul Jacob for this news.

4 Responses

  1. natural born citizen party

    2008 presidential election reform
    NYSSC Kings Cty Supreme — new consolidated case
    Strunk v NYS BOE et al first motion hearing begins next Friday, June 17th 2011 followed by Aug 1st multi-motion hearing
    Motions by attorneys for Obama, McCain, SWP, DNC, RNC, etc.

  2. Drew

    Unfortunately, this is not being proposed to actually provide for initiative in New York. It is the Republicans alternative to having to vote on same-sex marriage equality. They’ve been avoiding making commitments by saying that the voters should make the decision. So instead of implementing equality now, which is what the polls say NYers want, the Senate Republicans are making us wait 4 more years.

  3. Demo Rep

    Around 18 States with voter petitions for State constitutional amendments.

    The other about 32 ANTI-Democracy gerrymander oligarchy States may need to be possibly liberated the very hard way by the Democracy States.

    Lots of very EVIL and dangerous oligarchs in the larger ANTI-Democracy States since 1776.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  4. @Drew, the polls show that voters are almost evenly split on gay marriage, don’t they? In any case, the State Assembly isn’t likely to support such a proposal. If New York City Democrats are the main opposition to the bill in the Senate, the Assembly has even more New York City Democrats than the Senate does, so the assumption would have to be that this is what is known as a “one house bill”, which is to say D.O.A.
    It’s a lot like the National Popular Vote Plan, proposed by Fairvote USA, which passed the State Senate but will likely die in the Assembly.

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