Document Type

Article

Publication Title

The Government, Law and Policy Journal

Publication Date

Spring 2010

Abstract

The question is whether the New York State Constitution should be amended to provide a broader and deeper voice for New Yorkers in their government. Our answer is unequivocally "yes." But any constitutional changes should directly address the failures of New York's notoriously dysfunctional legislature, including the system by which its members are elected. Specifically, we focus on the operations of the legislative chambers, the campaign finance system, and the system of legislative reapportionment. The reforms we suggest are intended to make our current institutions more democratic and to preserve the integrity of New York's system of representative democracy. If implemented, they should help to restore the voices of New Yorkers to the halls of state government. We argue against "reforms" such as initiatives and referenda and term limits, which have historically allowed factions to tighten their holds on the jurisdictions in which they have been employed.

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