2017 Statewide Ballot Propositions Abstracts from the New York State Board of Elections (Elections.NY.gov)

November 3, 2017

I. ABSTRACT OF PROPOSAL NUMBER ONE, A QUESTION 

The New York State Constitution requires that every 20 years the people decide if a Constitutional Convention should be held to consider amendments to the State Constitution. The purpose of this Ballot Question is to allow the voters of New York State to determine whether a Constitutional Convention will be held in 2019. 

 

If a majority voting on this Question votes NO, there will be no Constitutional Convention. 

 

If a majority votes YES, three delegates from each state senatorial district and 15 at- large statewide delegates will be elected in November 2018. The delegates will convene at the Capitol in April 2019. Amendments adopted by a majority of the delegates will be submitted to the voters for approval or rejection in a statewide referendum to be held at least six weeks after the Convention adjourns. The delegates will determine whether to submit proposed amendments as separate questions. Any amendments that the voters approve will go into effect on the January 1 following their approval. 

 

If a majority votes in favor of a Constitutional Convention, then the delegates will receive for their services the same compensation as that payable to Members of the Assembly. The delegates also will be reimbursed for actual traveling expenses while the Convention is in session, to the extent that Members of the Assembly would be entitled reimbursement during a session of the Legislature. 

 

The delegates will have the power to appoint the officers, employees, and assistants that they deem necessary and to fix the compensation of those officers, employees, and assistants. The delegates also will have the power to provide for the expenses of the Convention, including the printing of its documents, journal, and proceedings. The delegates will determine the rules of their proceedings, choose their officers, and be the judge of the election, returns, and qualifications of their members. A vacancy in an office of district delegate will be filled by a vote of the remaining delegates representing the district in which the vacancy occurs; a vacancy in the office of a delegate-at-large will be filled by a vote of the remaining delegates-at-large. 

 

Form of Submission of Proposal Number One, A Question

Constitutional Convention

Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?

 

II. ABSTRACT OF PROPOSAL NUMBER TWO, AN AMENDMENT 

New York’s Constitution now provides that the benefits of a public pension or retirement system cannot be reduced or impaired. The purpose of the proposed amendment is to allow a court to reduce or revoke the public pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony that has a direct and actual relationship to the performance of the public officer’s existing duties. 

 

A court could determine, after notice to the public officer and a hearing, if a public officer convicted of such a felony would lose part or all of the pension. In reaching this determination, the court must consider factors including the seriousness of the public officer’s crime, the proportionality of a reduction or revocation to the crime, whether forfeiture would result in undue hardship or other inequity to dependent children, spouse, or other dependents, and any other factors provided by the Legislature. The Legislature must enact law that puts this proposal into effect, taking into account principles of fairness. 

 

The proposed amendment would define “public officer” to mean the following: 

  • An official filling an elected office within New York; 

  • A person holding an office that is filled by appointment by the New York Governor, whether or not that appointment has to be confirmed by the Senate; 

  • A county, city, town, or village administrator, manager or equivalent position; 

  • The head of any state or local government department, division, board, commission, bureau, public benefit corporation, or public authority in New York who is vested with authority, direction, and control over that entity; 

  • The chief fiscal officer or treasurer of a municipal corporation or political subdivision in New York; 

  • A judge or justice of the Unified Court System; and 

  • A legislative, executive, or judicial employee who directly assists in the formulation of legislation, rules, regulations, policy, or judicial decision-making and who is designated by law as a policy-maker. 

If approved, the amendment will apply only to crimes committed on or after January 1, 2018. 

 

Form of Submission of Proposal Number Two, An Amendment

Allowing the complete or partial forfeiture of a public officer’s pension if he or she is convicted of a certain type of felony

 

The proposed amendment to section 7 of Article 5 of the State Constitution would allow a court to reduce or revoke the public pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony that has a direct and actual relationship to the performance of the public officer’s existing duties. Shall the proposed amendment be approved? 

 

III. ABSTRACT OF PROPOSAL NUMBER THREE, AN AMENDMENT 

New York State’s Constitution protects the State’s forest preserve as wild forest land and generally prohibits the lease, sale, exchange, or taking of any forest preserve land. The proposed amendment will create two new exceptions to this broad protection of the forest preserve to make it easier for municipalities to undertake certain health and safety projects. 

 

First, the proposed amendment will create a land account of up to 250 acres of forest preserve land. A town, village, or county can apply to the land account if it has no viable alternative to using forest preserve land for specified health and safety purposes. These purposes are (1) to address bridge hazards or safety on specified highways; (2) to eliminate the hazards of dangerous curves and grades on specified highways; (3) to relocate, reconstruct, and maintain highways; and (4) for water wells and necessary related accessories located within 530 feet of a specified highway, where needed to meet drinking water quality standards. The State will acquire 250 acres to add to the forest preserve to replace the land placed in the health and safety land account, subject to approval by the Legislature, 

Second, the proposed amendment will allow bicycle paths and types of public utility lines to be located within the widths of specified highways that cross forest preserve land. The work on the bicycle paths and utility lines must minimize the removal of trees and vegetation. The proposed amendment will allow a stabilization device (such as a guy wire) for an existing utility pole to be located near the width of a highway when necessary to ensure public health and safety and when no other viable option exists. The proposed amendment prohibits the construction of a new intrastate gas or oil pipeline that did not receive necessary state and local permits and approvals by June 1, 2016. 

 

Form of Submission of Proposal Number Three, An Amendment

 

Authorizing the Use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes

 

The proposed amendment will create a land account with up to 250 acres of forest preserve land eligible for use by towns, villages, and counties that have no viable alternative to using forest preserve land to address specific public health and safety concerns; as a substitute for the land removed from the forest preserve, another 250 acres of land, will be added to the forest preserve, subject to legislative approval. The proposed amendment also will allow bicycle trails and certain public utility lines to be located within the width of specified highways that cross the forest preserve while minimizing removal of trees and vegetation. Shall the proposed amendment be approved? 

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