Leading New York State Constitutional Scholars to Explore Critical November Ballot Issues and the Proposed 2017 Constitutional Convention at “The New New York” Conference October 8

September 27, 2013 | Baruch College

Albany, NY-  September 27, 2013 — Following successful conferences at SUNY Cortland and at the Rockefeller Institute in Albany, Effective NY co-founders SUNY-New Paltz Prof. Gerry Benjamin and good government reform advocate Bill Samuels announced that they will hold a third conference at Baruch College in New York City October 8. “A New New York: The Constitutional Dimension,” will consider critical state constitutional issues that will be addressed by voters in November, as well as explore the need to call a constitutional convention in 2017 when a mandatory referendum question on this subject will be on the ballot.

Many of New York’s top experts on the state constitution and the operation of state government will discuss the reasons for and potential impact of the eight amendments proposed by the legislature that voters must vote upon in the 2013 and 2014 elections. The conference will also take up the advantages and disadvantages of holding a state constitutional convention to extensively reform the New York State outdated 1894 constitution. The last state constitutional convention was held in 1967and the last time the document was extensively reformed was 1938.

WHAT:   “A New New York: The Constitutional Dimension”
WHEN:    8 a.m. – 2 p.m., October 8, 2013
WHERE: Baruch College, 151 East 25th Street (between Third and Lexington), Newman Conference Center (7th floor)

The event is sponsored by Effective NY, the Center for Research, Regional Engagement and Outreach (CRREO) at SUNY New Paltz, the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, and City and State Magazine.

The conference will feature two panel discussions. The first will focus on the constitutional issues in anticipation of the 2013 November election, where voters will consider six ballot initiatives dealing with the state constitution. The second considers key areas in which the current constitution may be revised at a future constitutional convention.

The conference speakers and panelists will include:

  • Douglas Muzzio, Professor of Public Affairs, Baruch College;
  • Gerald Benjamin, Director, CRREO and Distinguished Professor of Political Science, SUNY New Paltz;
  • Peter Galie, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Canisius College, leading expert on state constitutional history, and Co-Editor The New York State Constitution, 2nd edition;
  • David Sciarra, Executive Director, Education Law Center;
  • Robert Ward, Deputy Comptroller, Budget & Policy Analysis at Office of the State Comptroller;
  • Frank Mauro, Executive Director, Fiscal Policy Institute;
  • Richard Brodsky, Senior Fellow at Demos and Senior Fellow at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Administration;
  • Bill Samuels, Co-Founder EffectiveNY.org and founder New Roosevelt;
  • Dennis Hawkins, Executive Director, Fund for Modern Courts;
  • Chris Bopst, Partner, Goldberg Segalla LLP, Buffalo, NY and Co-Editor of The New York State Constitution, 2nd Edition.

“Although it has a key role in day to day government, most New Yorkers are not familiar with their state constitution,” Dr. Benjamin said. “We are delighted to be able to help bring this unique focus on constitutional change to New Yorker City in this election season, with so many questions on the ballot, some of vital importance to the state’s future.”

“The ‘New New York’ conference will bring awareness to the central importance of the state constitution in the daily lives of New Yorkers,” said Douglas Muzzio, Professor of Public Affairs, Baruch College. “It will help prepare New Yorkers for the mandatory vote scheduled for 2017 on whether or not we should have a constitutional convention. And most immediately, the conference will focus on the eight constitutional amendments passed this year by the state legislature for consideration by voters. Six will be on the ballot in November, among them, one to allow additional gambling casinos in the state.”

“We are pleased to help to fund the conference,” said Bill Samuels, Co-Founder of Effective NY and Founder of New Roosevelt. “Continuing to improve upon our state constitution is essential to maintaining a vital and efficient government in Albany for the people. Reforming the constitution is a key step in helping to restoring trust and confidence in Albany and to make it the best legislature in the country.

The Effective NY Foundation has helped provide funding for the conference.

People interested in attending can do so here:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5ZH6QSZ

If you are member of the media and would like to attend the conference or speak to any of the experts involved, please contact: Jay Strell, Sunshine Sachs at strell@sunshinesachs.com or 212.691.2800.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Baruch College: Manuel Romero, (646) 660-6141, Manuel.Romero@baruch.cuny.edu

EffectiveNY.org: Jay Strell, Sunshine Sachs, (212) 691-2800, strell@sunshinesachs.com

CRREO: Janis Benincasa, (845) 257-2901, simonsj@newpaltz.edu