« ПретходнаНастави »
Introduced by Committee on Future Amendments as a substitute to amendments, introductory numbers fifty-nine, ninety-four, one hundred and forty-two, one hundred and forty-four, one hundred and eighty-nine, two hundred and four, two hundred and thirtyseven, two hundred and fifty-six, two hundred and eighty-five and two hundred and eighty-nine— read twice and referred to the Committee of the Whole.
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
To amend article thirteen of the Constitution, relating to further amendments.
The Delegates of the People of the State of New York, in Convention assembled, do propose as follows:
Article thirteen of the Constitution is hereby amended so as to read as follows:
SECTION 1. Any amendment or amendments to this Constitution may be proposed in the Senate and Assembly; and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each of the two houses, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on their Journals, with the yeas and nays taken thereon, and referred to the Legislature to be chosen at the next general election of Senators, and shall be published for three months previous to the time of making such choice; and if in the Legislature so next chosen, as aforesaid, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by a majority of all the members elected to each house, then it shall be the duty of the Legislature to submit such proposed amendment or amendments to the people for approval in such manner and at such times as the Legislature shall prescribe. Such approval shall be expressed in one of the following methods: First, if such amendment or amendments are submitted at a special election, by the affirmative votes of a majority of the electors qualified to vote for members of the Legislature, voting thereon; second,
if submitted at a general election, by the affirmative votes of a majority of all the qualified electors who shall, at the same election, vote for members of the Assembly; or, third, provided three-fourths of such qualified electors shall vote thereon, by the affirmative. votes of a majority of the electors voting thereon; any amendment or amendments so approved shall go into effect on the first day of January next after its approval.
§ 2. At the general election to be held in the year nineteen hundred and sixteen, and every twentieth year thereafter, and also at such times as the Legislature may by law provide, the question, "Shall there be a Convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?" shall be decided by the electors qualified to vote for members of the Legislature, and in case a majority of the electors so qualified, voting at such election for members of the Assembly, shall decide in favor of a Convention for such purposes, the electors of every Senate district of the State, as then organized, shall elect four delegates at the next ensuing election at which any members of the Legislature shall be chosen, and the electors of the State voting at the same election shall elect fifteen delegates-at-large. The delegates so elected shall convene at the capitol on the first . Tuesday of April next ensuing, after their election, and shall continue their session until the business of such Convention shall have been completed, not to exceed five months.
Every delegate shall receive for his services the same compensation and the same mileage as shall then be annually payable to the members of the Assembly. A majority of the Convention shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and no amendment to the Constitution shall be submitted for approval to the electors as hereinafter provided, unless by the assent of a majority of all the delegates, the yeas and nays being entered on the Journal to be kept. The Convention shall have the power to appoint such officers, employes and assistants, as it may deem necessary, and provide for the printing of its documents, Journal and proceedings. The Convention shall determine the rules of its own proceedings, choose its own officers and be the judge of the election, returns and qualifications of its members. In case of a vacancy by death, resignation or other cause, of any of its members, such vacancy shall be filled by a vote of a majority of all the delegates. Any proposed Constitution or constitutional amendment which shall have been adopted by such Convention, shall be submitted to a vote of the qualified electors of the State at the time and in the manner
provided by such Convention, at an election which shall be held not less than six weeks after the adjournment of such Convention. Upon the approval of such Constitution or constitutional amendments, in the manner provided in the last preceding section, such Constitution or constitutional amendment, shall go into effect on the first day of January next after its approval.
Mr. Chairman, I call attention to the fact that, so far as we have it on the calendar, the latter part of the amendment is not read as it reads here.
The Chairman - The Chair will call attention to the fact that there is a typographical error in the order as printed. In line 19, upon page 2, the words "second, if submitted at a general election by the" are erased, and the words "any amendment or amendments so approved" interlined.
Mr. Alvord - There is no mark to designate what the amendment is, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Moore Mr. Chairman, if amendments are in order at this time, I desire to offer an amendment to this amendment.
The Chairman - I suppose that any business in regard to this general order is now in order.
Mr. Moore I move, Mr. Chairman, to amend the proposed amendment on page 3, by inserting in line 6, instead of the word "four," "five district," making it read "five district delegates."
The Chairman - Will the gentleman put his amendment in writing and send it to the desk?
Mr. Moore I will, sir.
Mr. Marshall Mr. Chairman, for the purpose of explaining the proposed constitutional amendment which it now before the Committee of the Whole, I move to strike out all of such proposed amendment except the first line.
Under the present Constitution there are two methods for the amendment or revision of the Constitution. One is by amendment inaugurated in the Legislature; the other is by revision or amendment which is inaugurated in the Constitutional Convention.
The committee has had presented to it some nine or ten different proposed amendments relative to the holding of future Constitutional Conventions, and with respect to the amendment of the Constitution through the medium of the Legislature. After fully considering the various propositions, the article which is now presented was framed by the committee with a view to presenting all the best elements of all the different provisions which have been proposed,
together with some new matter. The committee found, upon examining the Constitutions of various States, that there was great diversity of opinion as to what was the proper course to pursue with respect to the amendment of a Constitution. In some States the only method allowed was by means of a Constitutional Convention; in some, only through the Legislature. In some instances it was required that the people should ratify the action of the Constitutional Convention or Legislature; in others no such requirement was inserted in the fundamental law. Our Constitution, very curiously, merely provides for the approval of the work of the Legislature, where it is sought to amend the Constitution through it. With respect to the Constitutional Convention there is no provision which requires any action on the part of the people in ratification of the will expressed by the Constitutional Convention. It was thought by the committee it would be proper to require approval by the people of the work of the Constitutional Convention. That has been the uniform course of practice in this State in respect to all the Constitutional Conventions that have been held therein, although there was no requirement which called for a submission to the people for approval of the action of the Convention. Another matter which enlisted the attention of the committee was that so far as the Constitutional Convention was concerned it was left entirely with the Legislature to determine whether or not the will of the people, as expressed at the polls, to the effect that a Convention should be held, could or could not be effectuated. In 1886 the people of this State voted by a very large majority that there should be a Constitutional Convention held. The Legislature and the Governor were unable to agree as to the method by which such Convention should be held, as to the selection of delegates, and as to the time when it should be held, and the result is, as is well known by all, that eight years have elapsed since the time when the people declared that they wished a Convention, before their wish was finally carried into effect by the holding of the present Convention. For the purpose of avoiding a repetition of such a state of affairs in the future, it has been deemed prudent to insert in the Constitution provisions which would make the declaration of the people, that they would have a Convention, self-executing. In other words, that when the people should say that the Convention would be held, all that would remain to be done would be to pursue the ordinary political methods obtaining in respect to the election of members of Assembly or State. Senators at the next ensuing election, and that then the people should vote for such number of delegates as should be provided for in the Constitution, and the Convention would then proceed with
the transaction of its business. To that end it was also deemed necessary that the action of the Convention should in some manner be regulated by the Constitution, and hence provisions similar to those found in that article of the Constitution relative to the Legislature were inserted. The compensation of the delegates is fixed to be the same as that payable to members of Assembly. A quorum is defined. The vote necessary for the passage of a constitutional amendment is specified. The power of the Convention as to the appointment of officers, as to the printing of its docments, journal and proceedings, as to the adoption of rules, and also a provision that the Convention shall be the judge of the election returns and qualifications of its members; which provision, although deemed unnecessary, in view of the action by this Convention in the Trapper case, was, nevertheless, thought proper to be inserted as a matter of greater precaution, and for the purpose of having in one section of the Constitution all provisions necessary for the definition of the powers of the Convention. Then followed provisions as to the time when the work of the Convention should be submitted to the people, the length of the session of the Convention, and, finally, provisions as to the method of approving the work of the Convention. Those methods are the same as are prescribed by section 1, which relates to amendments which originate in the Legislature, and in that respect there is a new provision inserted in the Constitution. The present Constitution only requires that there shall be ratification or approval by the people of amendments which have been passed by the two several Legislatures, and which are submitted to the people for adoption or rejection. The Constitution now provides that the approval shall be expressed in such manner and at such times as the Legislature may prescribe.
It is, however, thought necessary that there should be some provision inserted in the Constitution which will define to a certain extent the number of votes which should be cast upon the question of the adoption of an amendment to the fundamental law, and for this reason, upon examining the history of constitutional amendments which have been adopted in this State since the Constitution of 1846 was passed upon by the people, we find that some important amendments have been passed by a ridiculously small number of voters. Thus, for instance, in the year 1879, there were cast at the general election, at which the amendment to article 6 of the Constitution was adopted, for State officers, 901,535 votes. At the same election the amendment referred to was voted upon and was adopted by a vote of 95,000 of the voters of the State in favor of the amendment to the Constitution, and 25,000 votes against it. In other