Groups offer pros, cons for constitutional convention

Some say positive change possible, while others fear opposite
Demonstrators show their support for Planned Parenthood during a health care rally outside the Capitol in Washington in June.
Demonstrators show their support for Planned Parenthood during a health care rally outside the Capitol in Washington in June.

ALBANY — Those supporting Proposal 1 and voting yes for a constitutional convention:

The New York League of Women Voters 

“New York state’s political leaders have failed for the past two decades to enact meaningful reform and make democracy work in our state,” said Dare Thompson, president of the League. “In this 100th anniversary year of women getting the vote in New York state, New Yorkers will be able to send a strong message that they are fed up with corruption and dysfunction in Albany.”

RELATED: Constitutional convention debate makes for ‘strange bedfellows’
ENDORSEMENT: Vote no on constitutional convention

The New York State Bar Association

“The current version of the document, adopted in 1894 and amended over 200 times since, including substantial changes by the constitutional convention of 1938, is in significant need of revision. Many of the provisions in the 52,500 word constitution are: (1) outdated or obsolete; (2) unconstitutional in the wake of subsequent decisions by the United States Supreme Court; (3) wholly legislative in character; and/or (4) inconsistent with the demands of the modern state.”

Citizens Union

“Millions of New Yorkers are demanding sweeping changes in state government that will make voting easier, introduce stronger ethics laws to help prevent corruption, limit the flow of big money in our campaigns to make elections more competitive and bring greater accountability and transparency to our political institutions,” said Executive Director Dick Dadey. “A constitutional convention is our once-in-a-lifetime chance to make that change a reality.”

Forward March

“The legislative process is daunting, and the political gridlock that exists in Albany offers no comfort to any New York citizen. In light of this, the only way to protect women’s rights in this state is to put the power back into their hands. You can do this by endorsing and fully supporting a yes for a constitutional convention.”

Those opposed to Proposal 1 and voting no for a constitutional convention:

New York State Pistol and Rifle Association

“Corrupt politicians and their friends and family members will end up being elected as delegates,” said Tom King, the group’s president. “I am sure their first goal will be to attack our rights.”

New York State Public Employees Federation

“A constitutional convention would have far-reaching, long-term consequences that threaten many of the benefits and services working New Yorkers depend on and expect — and once they are gone, it could take decades to get them back.”

New York State United Teachers

“A constitutional convention has ramifications for all New Yorkers, even those not residing in the state,” said NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale. “A convention will only continue the attacks we’ve seen in recent years on the children, working and retired people of this great.”

Adirondack Wild

“While we entrust Article XIV, the so-called ‘forever wild’ clause, to the people, the rules governing election of delegates to a convention favor the well-connected and the well-funded who may not appreciate or be inclined to enthusiastically support the vital watershed and other non-commercial values of the Forest Preserve,” said Dave Gibson, the group’s managing partner.

Adirondack Council

“The Adirondack Council is proud of our role in developing Proposal 3 to assist communities without compromising the integrity of the ‘forever wild’ clause, the greatest forest conservation law in the world,” said spokesman John Sheehan. “The Council has established the Committee to Defend Forever Wild in support of Proposal 3, and to oppose Proposal 1, the proposed constitutional convention. Proposal 3 shows we can safely amend the constitution without running the risks of a constitutional convention.”

Planned Parenthood

“This process will not be inclusive, making it vulnerable to powerful special interests that do  not stand for the people of New York, especially those already underrepresented, said Robin Chappelle Golston, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts. “A constitutional convention is a complicated, expensive and potentially dangerous undertaking that is also unnecessary, as we already have a process for amending the state constitution through legislative action.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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