senate Bill S2214

Provides for initiative and referendum and recall

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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  • 14 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO JUDICIARY
  • 22 / Jan / 2013
    • TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR OPINION
  • 15 / Feb / 2013
    • OPINION REFERRED TO JUDICIARY
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO JUDICIARY
  • 13 / Jan / 2014
    • TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR OPINION
  • 19 / Feb / 2014
    • OPINION REFERRED TO JUDICIARY

Summary

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

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A5392
Versions:
S2214
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Judiciary
Law Section:
Constitution, Concurrent Resolutions to Amend
Laws Affected:
Ren Art 20 to be Art 21, add Art 20 ยงยง1 - 12, Constn
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S2453, A6526
2009-2010: S6060, A6815
2007-2008: A3665, A3665

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2214

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: 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 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 presenting 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
referendum from being employed in cases of urgency statutes (emergency
legislation), 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 governor. 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, assembly
member, and supreme and trial court judges shall require signatures
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 measures 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 popular
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
officials. 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.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-12 S. 2453/A. 6526 - Judiciary Committee

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Possibly slightly increased administrative
costs.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage by two separately elected Legislatures
and approval by the voters after such passage.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  2214

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 14, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. GRIFFO, GRISANTI, LARKIN, RANZENHOFER -- read twice
  and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee
  on Judiciary

            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

  Section  1.  Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That article 20 of the
constitution be renumbered article 21 and a new article 20 be  added  to
read as follows:
                               ARTICLE XX
                  INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM AND RECALL
  SECTION  1.  1. THE INITIATIVE IS THE POWER OF THE ELECTORS TO PROPOSE
STATUTES AND AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION AND TO ADOPT OR REJECT THEM.
  2. AN INITIATIVE MEASURE MAY BE PROPOSED BY PRESENTING TO  THE  SECRE-
TARY  OF STATE A PETITION THAT SETS FORTH THE TEXT OF THE PROPOSED STAT-
UTE OR AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION  AND  IS  CERTIFIED  TO  HAVE  BEEN
SIGNED  BY  ELECTORS  EQUAL  IN  NUMBER TO FIVE PERCENT IN THE CASE OF A
STATUTE, AND EIGHT PERCENT IN THE CASE OF AN AMENDMENT TO THE  CONSTITU-
TION,  OF THE VOTES FOR ALL CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR AT THE LAST GUBERNA-
TORIAL ELECTION.
  3. THE SECRETARY OF STATE SHALL THEN SUBMIT THE MEASURE  AT  THE  NEXT
GENERAL  ELECTION  HELD  AT  LEAST  ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE DAYS AFTER IT
QUALIFIES OR AT ANY SPECIAL STATEWIDE ELECTION HELD PRIOR TO THAT GENER-
AL ELECTION. THE GOVERNOR MAY CALL A SPECIAL STATEWIDE ELECTION FOR  THE
MEASURE.
  4.  AN  INITIATIVE  MEASURE EMBRACING MORE THAN ONE SUBJECT MAY NOT BE
SUBMITTED TO THE ELECTORS OR HAVE ANY EFFECT.
  5. AN INITIATIVE MEASURE SHALL NOT INCLUDE OR  EXCLUDE  ANY  POLITICAL
SUBDIVISION  OF  THE  STATE  FROM  THE  APPLICATION  OR  EFFECT  OF  ITS
PROVISIONS BASED UPON APPROVAL OR DISAPPROVAL OF THE INITIATIVE MEASURE,
OR BASED UPON THE CASTING OF A SPECIFIED PERCENTAGE OF VOTES IN FAVOR OF
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.
                                                           LBD89077-01-3

S. 2214                             2

  6. AN INITIATIVE MEASURE SHALL NOT CONTAIN ALTERNATIVE  OR  CUMULATIVE
PROVISIONS  WHEREIN  ONE  OR  MORE  OF THOSE PROVISIONS WOULD BECOME LAW
DEPENDING UPON THE CASTING OF A SPECIFIED PERCENTAGE  OF  VOTES  FOR  OR
AGAINST THE MEASURE.
  S  2.  1.  THE  REFERENDUM  IS THE POWER OF THE ELECTORS TO APPROVE OR
REJECT STATUTES OR PARTS OF STATUTES EXCEPT URGENCY  STATUTES,  STATUTES
CALLING  ELECTIONS,  AND  STATUTES PROVIDING FOR TAX LEVIES OR APPROPRI-
ATIONS FOR USUAL CURRENT EXPENSES OF THE STATE.
  2. A REFERENDUM MEASURE MAY BE PROPOSED BY PRESENTING TO THE SECRETARY
OF STATE, WITHIN NINETY DAYS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE STATUTE,  A
PETITION  CERTIFIED  TO  HAVE BEEN SIGNED BY ELECTORS EQUAL IN NUMBER TO
FIVE PERCENT OF THE VOTES FOR ALL CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR  AT  THE  LAST
GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION, ASKING THAT THE STATUTE OR PART OF IT BE SUBMIT-
TED  TO  THE ELECTORS. IN THE CASE OF A STATUTE ENACTED BY A BILL PASSED
BY THE LEGISLATURE ON OR BEFORE THE DATE THE LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS IN THE
SECOND CALENDAR YEAR OF THE BIENNIUM OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, AND  IN
THE  POSSESSION OF THE GOVERNOR AFTER THAT DATE, THE PETITION MAY NOT BE
PRESENTED ON OR AFTER JANUARY FIRST NEXT FOLLOWING  THE  EFFECTIVE  DATE
UNLESS  A  COPY  OF  THE  PETITION  IS SUBMITTED TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION FOUR OF SECTION THREE  OF  THIS  ARTICLE  BEFORE
JANUARY FIRST.
  3.  THE  SECRETARY  OF STATE SHALL THEN SUBMIT THE MEASURE AT THE NEXT
GENERAL ELECTION HELD AT LEAST THIRTY-ONE DAYS AFTER IT QUALIFIES OR  AT
A  SPECIAL  STATEWIDE  ELECTION HELD PRIOR TO THAT GENERAL ELECTION. THE
GOVERNOR MAY CALL A SPECIAL STATEWIDE ELECTION FOR THE MEASURE.
  S 3. 1. AN INITIATIVE STATUTE OR REFERENDUM APPROVED BY A MAJORITY  OF
VOTES THEREON TAKES EFFECT THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION UNLESS THE MEASURE
PROVIDES  OTHERWISE. IF A REFERENDUM PETITION IS FILED AGAINST A PART OF
A STATUTE THE REMAINDER SHALL NOT BE DELAYED FROM GOING INTO EFFECT.
  2. IF PROVISIONS OF TWO OR MORE MEASURES APPROVED AT THE SAME ELECTION
CONFLICT, THOSE OF THE MEASURE RECEIVING THE  HIGHEST  AFFIRMATIVE  VOTE
SHALL PREVAIL.
  3.  THE  LEGISLATURE  MAY  AMEND OR REPEAL REFERENDUM STATUTES. IT MAY
AMEND OR REPEAL AN INITIATIVE STATUTE BY ANOTHER  STATUTE  THAT  BECOMES
EFFECTIVE ONLY WHEN APPROVED BY THE ELECTORS UNLESS THE INITIATIVE STAT-
UTE PERMITS AMENDMENT OR REPEAL WITHOUT THEIR APPROVAL.
  4.  PRIOR  TO  CIRCULATION OF AN INITIATIVE OR REFERENDUM PETITION FOR
SIGNATURES, A COPY SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL WHO  SHALL
PREPARE A TITLE AND SUMMARY OF THE MEASURE AS PROVIDED BY LAW.
  5.  THE  LEGISLATURE SHALL PROVIDE THE MANNER IN WHICH PETITIONS SHALL
BE CIRCULATED, PRESENTED, AND CERTIFIED, AND MEASURES SUBMITTED  TO  THE
ELECTORS.
  S 4. 1. INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM POWERS MAY BE EXERCISED BY THE ELEC-
TORS  OF EACH CITY OR COUNTY UNDER PROCEDURES THAT THE LEGISLATURE SHALL
PROVIDE. EXCEPT AS PROVIDED  IN  SUBDIVISIONS  TWO  AND  THREE  OF  THIS
SECTION, THIS SECTION DOES NOT AFFECT A CITY HAVING A CHARTER.
  2.  A  CITY  OR COUNTY INITIATIVE MEASURE SHALL NOT INCLUDE OR EXCLUDE
ANY PART OF THE CITY OR COUNTY FROM THE APPLICATION  OR  EFFECT  OF  ITS
PROVISIONS BASED UPON APPROVAL OR DISAPPROVAL OF THE INITIATIVE MEASURE,
OR BASED UPON THE CASTING OF A SPECIFIED PERCENTAGE OF VOTES IN FAVOR OF
THE MEASURE, BY THE ELECTORS OF THE CITY OR COUNTY OR ANY PART THEREOF.
  3.  A  CITY OR COUNTY INITIATIVE MEASURE SHALL NOT CONTAIN ALTERNATIVE
OR CUMULATIVE PROVISIONS WHEREIN ONE OR MORE OF THOSE  PROVISIONS  WOULD
BECOME LAW DEPENDING UPON THE CASTING OF A SPECIFIED PERCENTAGE OF VOTES
FOR OR AGAINST THE MEASURE.

S. 2214                             3

  S  5. NO AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION, AND NO STATUTE PROPOSED TO THE
ELECTORS BY THE LEGISLATURE OR BY INITIATIVE, THAT NAMES ANY  INDIVIDUAL
TO  HOLD  ANY  OFFICE, OR NAMES OR IDENTIFIES ANY PRIVATE CORPORATION TO
PERFORM ANY FUNCTION OR TO HAVE ANY POWER OR DUTY, MAY BE  SUBMITTED  TO
THE ELECTORS OR HAVE ANY EFFECT.
  S  6.  RECALL IS THE POWER OF THE ELECTORS TO REMOVE AN ELECTIVE OFFI-
CER.
  S 7. 1. RECALL OF A STATE OFFICER IS INITIATED BY  DELIVERING  TO  THE
SECRETARY OF STATE A PETITION ALLEGING REASON FOR RECALL. SUFFICIENCY OF
REASON IS NOT REVIEWABLE. PROPONENTS HAVE ONE HUNDRED SIXTY DAYS TO FILE
SIGNED PETITIONS.
  2. A PETITION TO RECALL A STATEWIDE OFFICER MUST BE SIGNED BY ELECTORS
EQUAL  IN NUMBER TO TWELVE PERCENT OF THE LAST VOTE FOR THE OFFICE, WITH
SIGNATURES FROM EACH OF FIVE COUNTIES EQUAL IN NUMBER TO ONE PERCENT  OF
THE  LAST  VOTE  FOR  THE  OFFICE  IN  THE  COUNTY. SIGNATURES TO RECALL
SENATORS, MEMBERS OF THE ASSEMBLY, AND  JUDGES  OF  SUPREME  COURTS  AND
TRIAL  COURTS  MUST  EQUAL IN NUMBER TWENTY PERCENT OF THE LAST VOTE FOR
THE OFFICE.
  3. THE SECRETARY OF STATE SHALL MAINTAIN A  CONTINUOUS  COUNT  OF  THE
SIGNATURES CERTIFIED TO THAT OFFICE.
  S  8. 1. AN ELECTION TO DETERMINE WHETHER TO RECALL AN OFFICER AND, IF
APPROPRIATE, TO ELECT A SUCCESSOR SHALL BE CALLED BY  THE  GOVERNOR  AND
HELD NOT LESS THAN SIXTY DAYS NOR MORE THAN EIGHTY DAYS FROM THE DATE OF
CERTIFICATION OF SUFFICIENT SIGNATURES.
  2.  A  RECALL ELECTION MAY BE CONDUCTED WITHIN ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS
FROM THE DATE OF CERTIFICATION OF SUFFICIENT SIGNATURES  IN  ORDER  THAT
THE  ELECTION  MAY  BE  CONSOLIDATED  WITH  THE NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED
ELECTION OCCURRING WHOLLY OR PARTIALLY WITHIN THE SAME  JURISDICTION  IN
WHICH  THE  RECALL ELECTION IS HELD, IF THE NUMBER OF VOTERS ELIGIBLE TO
VOTE AT THAT NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED  ELECTION  EQUAL  AT  LEAST  FIFTY
PERCENT OF ALL THE VOTERS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE AT THE RECALL ELECTION.
  3.  IF  THE MAJORITY VOTE ON THE QUESTION IS TO RECALL, THE OFFICER IS
REMOVED AND, IF THERE IS A  CANDIDATE,  THE  CANDIDATE  WHO  RECEIVES  A
PLURALITY  IS  THE  SUCCESSOR.  THE  OFFICER MAY NOT BE A CANDIDATE, NOR
SHALL THERE BE ANY CANDIDACY FOR AN OFFICE FILED PURSUANT TO SECTION TWO
OF ARTICLE SIX.
  S 9. THE  LEGISLATURE  SHALL  PROVIDE  FOR  CIRCULATION,  FILING,  AND
CERTIFICATION  OF  PETITIONS,  NOMINATION  OF CANDIDATES, AND THE RECALL
ELECTION.
  S 10. IF RECALL OF THE GOVERNOR OR SECRETARY OF  STATE  IS  INITIATED,
THE  RECALL  DUTIES  OF THAT OFFICE SHALL BE PERFORMED BY THE LIEUTENANT
GOVERNOR OR COMPTROLLER, RESPECTIVELY.
  S 11. A STATE OFFICER WHO IS NOT RECALLED SHALL BE REIMBURSED  BY  THE
STATE  FOR THE OFFICER'S RECALL ELECTION EXPENSES LEGALLY AND PERSONALLY
INCURRED. ANOTHER RECALL MAY NOT BE INITIATED AGAINST THE OFFICER  UNTIL
SIX MONTHS AFTER THE ELECTION.
  S 12. THE LEGISLATURE SHALL PROVIDE FOR RECALL OF LOCAL OFFICERS. THIS
SECTION  DOES  NOT AFFECT COUNTIES AND CITIES WHOSE CHARTERS PROVIDE FOR
RECALL.
  S 2. Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That the  foregoing  amendment
be 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.

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