New York Voters Reject Ballot Measure Calling For Constitutional Convention

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Three major propositions were on the ballot in New York State Tuesday, with one at the center of a heated political battle.

The fight was over Proposition One, which called for a constitutional convention for the state.

Proponents said it would have allowed the state to take a hard look at ethics and campaign finance reform.

Unions, environmental groups, Planned Parenthood, and officials from both parties had urged opposition.

Both sides campaigned intensely, but voters ultimately returned a resounding “no.”

 

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said working men and women “understood what was at stake.”

“Our constitution has some of the strongest worker protections in the country, including the right to collectively bargain, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation,” Cilento said. “… All of those rights will continue to be protected for the working men and women of this great state.”

The question of a constitutional convention is automatically put on the ballot every 20 years. The last convention was held in 1967.

If the question had passed, voters would have later picked delegates for the convention. Any recommended changes to the state’s governing document would have had to be ratified by a statewide vote.

The ballot initiative says politicians convicted of felonies must forfeit all or part of their pensions. A host of convictions of Albany officials prompted the ballot measure.

Voters gave their overwhelming approval to the measure on Tuesday.

A 2011 law allowed judges to revoke or reduce pensions of crooked lawmakers, but it didn’t apply to sitting lawmakers at the time. A constitutional amendment was needed to cover all lawmakers, regardless of when they were elected. This year’s ballot question, if approved, will close that loophole.

More than 30 lawmakers have left office facing allegations of corruption or misconduct since 2000.

The third ballot measure would make it easier for local municipalities to fix roads or utilities int he area of forest preserves by creating a so-called “land bank” to ease strict rules.

As of late Tuesday, the results for the third ballot measure were too close to call.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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