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Saying No to a New York State Constitutional Convention on the 2017 Ballot

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 Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke has submitted a resolution in opposition to the New York State Constitutional Convention on November 7th, 2017 (election day). Every 20 years, the Constitutional Convention affords the citizens of New York an opportunity to vote to make major amends or revisions to the State’s Constitution. However, it is imperative to note that this is not the only opportunity for changes to be made to the Constitution. Individual bills may be passed at any time to amend specific language and alter the Constitution.

 The Constitutional Convention is exceptionally volatile. The State Constitution is the bedrock for the legal protections and rights that the State provides, and conducting a convention would allow for haphazard changes which could potentially alter working conditions, access to education, and retirement security for New York State citizens. The documentation that protects citizen’s rights would be completely vulnerable to drastic change, putting many New Yorkers at risk.

 It is important to note the the Constitutional Convention would be an exceptional waste of taxpayers’ money, and it would escalate hyper-partisanship and reckless decision-making by delegates. The last proposal for the Constitutional Convention was in 1997, when voters reasonably decided against it. The last time the Constitutional Convention was called was in 1965, and the last time an amendment was passed as a result of the Constitutional Convention was in 1936.

 Legislator Patrick Burke consistently fights for his constituents’ rights and well being and believes the risks involved in the calling of a Constitutional Convention are far too great. The rights and protections afforded in the NYS Constitution cannot be rolled back, and a constitutional convention would open up that possibility.