Yes or No in November? Discussing a Constitutional Convention for New York

New York voters have a big decision to make this November – whether to vote for or against convening a constitutional convention to examine the New York State Constitution. For many New Yorkers, this will be their first time seeing a constitutional convention question on the ballot; others may remember being asked that question in 1997 because in New York, every 20 years, the voters get to decide if a convention should be held. A yes vote would lead to an election for delegates in 2018 for a convention that would convene in April 2019. The delegates at that convention can debate whether New York’s Constitution—the document that determines the structure of New York State government and the rights of its citizens—should be changed. 

On March 15, the Task Force on the New York State Constitutional Convention held a panel discussion that focused on the pros and cons of holding a convention and featured panels of experts in areas including, among other topics, government ethics, LGBTQ rights, education, social welfare, and the judiciary. Listen to the audio of the panel discussions here or download from iTunes here.


Opening Remarks:

Henry ‘Hank’ Greenberg, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig LLP (Moderator)

Read the opening remarks here.

Panel OnePanel One:  discussing the potential upside of holding a convention 

Roberta Kaplan, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP 
Evan Davis, Senior Counsel, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Dick Dadey, Executive Director, Citizens Union
Michael Cardozo, Partner, Proskauer Rose LLP

Panel Two:  discussing the potential downside of holding a convention

Helen Hershkoff, Professor of Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties, NYU School of Law – read her statement here
Adriene Holder, Attorney-in Charge, Civil Practice Legal Aid Society of NYC – read her statement here
Arthur ‘Jerry’ Kremer, Chairman, Empire Government Strategies

Read written testimony of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys UAW 2325 (AFL-CIO) here.

Closing Remarks

John Kiernan, New York City Bar Association President

View the speakers’ bios here.

*Please note that speaker statements should not be attributed to any organizations with which they are affiliated unless otherwise stated during the course of the program.

Download from iTunes here or stream it on the web here.

The New York City Campaign Finance Board is requesting comments on the pros and cons of holding a constitutional convention for the official New York City Voter Guide. For more information on how to submit a statement, click here

Below: Panel Two