Connect:NY is WCNY’s statewide TV news and public affairs series.  Recently, award-winning broadcast journalist Susan Arbetter hosted a very informative six-episode series on the New York State Constitutional Convention:

Connect: NY 107
May 16, 2016
Re-Imagining New York: NY’s Constitutional Convention – Halley’s Comet of Change

Connect: NY 108
June 20, 2016
Re-Imagining New York: Environment

Connect: NY 109
July 11, 2016
Re-imagining New York: Crime & Punishment

Connect: NY 110
Aug. 22, 2016
Re-imagining New York: Power and Ethics

Connect: NY 111
Sept. 19, 2016
Re-Imagining New York: Education

Connect: NY 112
Oct. 17, 2016
Re-imagining New York: From Imagination to Reality

The Rockefeller Institute

How To Fix New York’s Constitution?

“The SUNY Buffalo Law School held a panel discussion on April 5, 2016. The panel discussed the upcoming referendum in 2017 on whether New York should hold a constitutional convention and the possible ramifications. The panel included Christopher Bopst, chief legal and financial officer at Sam-Son Logistics; Henrik Dullea, a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees; Peter Galie, professor emeritus at Canisius College; and Gerald Benjamin, SUNY distinguished service professor at SUNY New Paltz and director of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives. The moderator of the panel was Michael Halberstam, acting director of the Jaeckle Center for Law, Democracy, and Governance at SUNY Buffalo Law School.”

NY Constitutional Convention: How Our State Constitution Impacts the Practice of Law 

“This program focused on the potential impact a Constitutional Convention may have on the legal profession and the public at large.”

The New York State Constitutional Convention in Historical Perspective

“At the annual Researching New York Conference on November 18, 2016, panels were held to explore the implications of the 2017 referendum on whether to hold a Constitutional Convention in New York State. Recognizing the importance of this civic participation opportunity, a coalition has been formed to conceive and implement a campaign designed to ensure that each of New York’s voters goes to vote with a clearer sense of what a Constitutional Convention could achieve. This keynote panel discussion is an important part of the coalition’s work.”

Audio Programs


Sept. 30, 2016: Ashley Hupfl, Bill Mahoney, Pramilla Malick, Peter Galie and Christopher Bopst

Approximately 22 minutes in: How do pensions fit into the New York State Constitution? Constitutional scholars Peter Galie, a professor emeritus at Canisius College, and Christopher Bopst, the chief legal and financial officer at Sam-Son Logistics, Inc, explained.


January 18th 2017
Guests: Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, and New York State Constitution Expert and Author Christopher Bopst discuss term limits.

December 14th 2016
Guests: Former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, Environmental Advocates of New York Executive Director Peter Iwanowicz, Hoosick Falls activist and mom Michele Baker, and Newburgh City Manager Michael Ciaravino talk about a constitutional right to clean air and water.

Websites of Note

Committee For a Constitutional Convention

The Committee for a Constitutional Convention is a leadership group to support advocacy in favor of calling a Convention in to convene in 2019 to craft proposals for voter consideration that would make needed changes in the New York State Constitution.  Under the Constitution this question appears on the ballot once every 20 years and will be on the ballot at the general election in November 2017.  If the voters decide to call a Convention, Delegates will be elected in November 2018, three from each Senate District and 15 state-wide.  The Convention will convene in 2019 and be known as the 2019 New York State Constitutional Convention.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

“Recognizing the importance of this opportunity, the Rockefeller Institute, the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, the League of Women Voters of New York State, and the Siena Research Institute have joined forces, often with partner organizations from around the state, to conceive and implement a multiyear campaign designed to ensure that each of New York’s voters, made aware of this work, goes to vote with a clearer sense of what a Constitutional Convention could achieve.

Contained within this Constitutional Convention web portal are sections that provide context, history, a timeline, videos of presentations, information about our partners and experts, a guide to publications, and a media archive of the work being done to greatly enhance civic engagement on this pivotal issue.”

The New York State Bar Association Committee on the NY State Constitution

“The Committee on the New York State Constitution will serve as a resource for the Association with regard to issues related to or affecting the New York State Constitution; finalizing substantive provisions of the state constitution and making recommendations with regard to potential changes; promoting initiatives designed to educate the legal community and the public about the state constitution and providing recommendations with regard to the forthcoming public referendum in 2017 on whether to convene a state constitutional convention, and propose the delegates selection process if the convention takes place. The chair is Henry Greenberg.”

NYC Bar Association Task Force on the NY State Constitutional Convention

“The New York City Bar Association has convened a Task Force on the New York State Constitutional Convention and has asked its members to undertake an analysis similar to the one done by the City Bar 20 years ago.”

The New York State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse

“In recent decades, the quality of public deliberation about periodic constitutional convention referendums has been low. In particular, there has been a lack of historical, comparative, and normative information to help people understand this important democratic institution.

The New York State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse seeks to rectify this problem. In particular, it seeks to elevate the quality of public deliberation on issues relevant to New York’s November 7, 2017 referendum on whether to convene a state constitutional constitution, and then, if voters pass the referendum, issues relevant to subsequent stages in the constitutional convention process.”

“ChangeNYS is a not-for-profit organization formed to promote the education of New Yorkers about the need for non-partisan civic understanding and political reform in our state.”

Books & Articles

New York’s Broken Constitution: The Governance Crisis and the Path to Renewed Greatness

“On its face, New York State s constitution is an elaborate and impressive aggregation of processes, powers, mandates, and limits. But many of these are inoperative, and New Yorkers who read the document and believe what it says will come away with a massive misunderstanding of the realities of state government. The essays in New York s Broken Constitution seek to clarify the realities by bringing attention to the gaps between what the constitution says and how the state is actually governed, and they provide a disquieting picture of the state of the state’s constitution.”

Decision 1997: Constitutional Change in New York

The material presented in this book grew out of the work of the Temporary Commission on Constitutional Revision created in 1993 and chaired by Peter G. Goldmark, Jr. Former New York State Governor Malcolm Wilson, to whom this book is dedicated and who served as a member of the Commission, said of this compendium, “This volume deserves to have a long shelf life even after the people exercise their duty to vote on this issue in 1997. These papers constitute a valuable resource on our great governmental heritage.”

Charter Revision in the Empire State: The Politics of New York’s 1967 Constitutional Convention

Few citizens know much about the constitution of their state. Yet state constitutions are basic instruments of our democracy. They structure state and local government and stipulate the rights of citizenship. In New York State, the constitution mandates a periodic vote on whether the state constitution should be revised. This is a history of the 1967 constitutional convention.

Does the World Really Belong to the Living? The Decline of the Constitutional Convention in New York and Other US States, 1776–2015

An incisive article by J.H. Snider: This article explains the long-term structural forces leading to increased opposition to calling a state constitutional convention. Some of these forces signal democratic dysfunction and should be cause for alarm.