Albany—State Senator Michael Nozzolio announced today that the New York Senate has adopted legislation he is sponsoring that would give New Yorkers a more direct role in the legislative process by empowering them to enact and amend laws through initiative and referendum.
"Fighting to give New York's citizens more of a voice in their government has always been one of my top priorities," Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R-C, Fayette), said. “Initiative and referendum represents the very core of democracy – ensuring that all people have a voice in the democratic process. It is an idea grounded in the belief that power ultimately rests in the hands of the people. This proposal continues our commitment to ensure that the voices of all New Yorkers are heard.”
The proposal would amend the State Constitution to allow for direct initiative and referendum, whereby measures are placed on the ballot at the November general election for a popular vote after a certain number of signatures are collected.
Under the proposal, signatures from five percent of the total voters statewide in the last gubernatorial election would be required. To ensure that a measure has a broad base of statewide support, these signatures would be required to include at least 5,000 signatures of residents from at least three-fifths of the State's congressional districts.
Once on the ballot, an initiative or referendum would become law if it receives a majority of the votes cast.
The bill also allows for initiative and referendum at the county, city, town or village level. To propose any measure at the local level, signatures from at least five percent of the residents in the municipality who voted in the last gubernatorial election would be required. A measure would become law if it receives the approval of the majority of voters within the municipality.