New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) today announced that his policy essay advocating the convening of a "People's Constitutional Convention" has been published and is prominently featured in the current edition of the Albany Government Law Review. Leader Kolb's policy essay, titled "New York's Last, Best Hope for Real Reform: The Case for Convening a State Constitutional Convention," is now available on-line at the Albany Government Law Review's "Fireplace Blog,".
This past winter, the Albany Government Law Review had reached out to Leader Kolb inviting him to submit a policy essay outlining reasons for his advocacy of a People's Constitutional Convention and describe for Albany Government Law Review readers how such a reform effort could help transform New York State's government for the better.
"For nearly two years, I have traveled throughout New York and spoken to thousands of taxpayers, members of business groups and civic organizations, regarding the need for a People's Constitutional Convention. I believe this reform is the game changer New York needs so long-talked about changes like initiative and referendum, term limits, a state spending cap, unfunded mandate relief, independent redistricting, along with debt and pension reform, can finally become reality," Leader Kolb said.
"I was honored to have been asked by the Albany Government Law Review to submit a policy essay on the importance of a People's Constitutional Convention and the transformational impact it would have on state government. The Albany Government Law Review is a highly respected journal and recognized as the leading source for thoughtful, substantive analysis of legal and public policy issues affecting our state government. It was my privilege to provide a policy essay on an issue as important as the People's Constitutional Convention which I have been championing," Leader Kolb stated.
Leader Kolb's policy essay provides a historical context of previous State Constitutional Conventions, addresses specific criticisms of past Constitutional Conventions, and describes how the current effort includes changes such as preventing elected officials, lobbyists or political party bosses from serving in a People's Constitutional Convention. The essay also outlines "Three Crises" that still confront New York State government and warrant a People's Convention: a fiscal crisis, a governmental crisis, and a crisis of confidence.
"While the 2011 Session saw some historic achievements, the job of fixing our state government is not complete - a People's Constitutional Convention remains the best opportunity to make long-term structural changes to the institution of state government. A state spending cap, initiative and referendum, debt and pension reform, term limits, independent redistricting, unfunded mandate relief, all of these necessary reforms could be considered and enacted through a People's Constitutional Convention, which is why I will continue leading and strongly supporting this non-partisan reform effort," Leader Kolb said.
Since the summer of 2009, Leader Kolb has been leading a statewide effort to convene a People's Constitutional Convention and make much-needed fiscal, governmental and structural reforms to fix state government so it once again works for taxpayers. Leader Kolb has conducted 24 People's Convention Town Hall meetings - open to all taxpayers and the media - in every region of New York State, written numerous Op-Eds, appeared before newspaper editorial boards and taken part in non-partisan public forums to promote the reform effort.
In addition, Leader Kolb has introduced non-partisan legislation, the "People's Convention to Reform New York Act," Assembly Bill A.1262, that would effectively move up the opportunity for reform by six years by putting the question of whether New York State should convene a Constitutional Convention on the fall 2011 ballot statewide. The question of calling a convention will automatically appear on the 2017 ballot.
The People's Convention to Reform New York Act, supported by a bi-partisan coalition of 31 Assembly Members, also has a Senate companion bill, S.4379, sponsored by State Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R,C,I-59th District) which has passed the Senate Elections Committee and was last committed to the Senate's Rules Committee at the end of the 2011 Legislative Session. Assembly Bill A.1262 remains in the Assembly's Judiciary Committee.
In addition to outreach to taxpayers and introduction of non-partisan legislation, Leader Kolb also launched an on-line petition - www.reformny.org - to continue building grassroots support for the reform push and enlist New Yorkers fed up with Albany's broken status quo in the effort to take their government back. So far, nearly 2,500 New Yorkers have added their name to the on-line petition and 50 local communities, business and civic groups have likewise expressed their support for the convening of a People's Convention.