Committee Reports

Report of the New York City Bar Association Task Force on the New York State Constitutional Convention


Every twenty years, New York voters go to the polls to decide whether to call a constitutional convention to revise the New York State Constitution and amend the same. New York voters most recently answered no in 1997. In November 2017, as provided by the State’s constitution, New York voters will once again face the question of whether to call a constitutional convention. If the electorate decides to call a convention, delegates will be elected in November 2018, and the convention will convene in April 2019. Over a year and a half period, the Task Force on the New York State Constitutional Convention has been considering whether it should recommend that the City Bar support or oppose the calling of a convention. In April 2017, the Task Force voted overwhelmingly in support of a convention.  This report reflects the issues considered and the reasons for this recommendation, divided into four categories: (i) Courts, Criminal Justice and Government Structure; (ii) Home Rule, the Environment and Private Economy; (iii) Education, Bill of Rights and Social Services; and (iv) Finance and Taxation. In each category, the Task Force identifies the potential positive changes that support the call for a constitutional convention, changes that should be considered if a convention is called, and risks to which attention must be paid. 

In the City Bar’s tradition of stimulating discussion of important issues, there is an objection attached to this report from nine Committees as well as the Council on Judicial Administration. During its almost two-year deliberations, the Task Force considered the issues raised in the objection and has acknowledged the concerns in this report.