A STATE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION?

9/27/97 

With only local offices up for election this November, little attention is being paid to a very important item which will be before voters this fall. On the ballot is a referendum calling upon voters to determine whether or not there will be a Constitutional Convention in New York State this coming spring. A Constitutional Convention is a process written into our state constitution that provides for the election of representatives to meet to propose amendments to the state constitution. The entire constitution of the state of New York will be open for revision should this referendum pass. The interests of all but a few New Yorkers lies in its defeat.

There is much to lose and little to gain from a 50 million dollar Constitutional Convention. Should there be a convention, the delegates to it will be, by and large, the same people who are currently representing us. The only difference is they will receive additional salaries and expense accounts, all of which are expected to add up to 50 million dollars. In a state in which a half million people are jobless, in which school buildings in urban and rural areas are crumbling and in which there are hundred of toxic waste sites that must be cleaned up, can't we find something better to do with 50 million dollars?

What can we hope to gain from a Constitutional Convention? NOTHING FOR WORKING PEOPLE! New York's constitution is one of the best in the nation for protecting citizen rights and quality of life. Should there be a constitutional convention, this may no longer be the case. The special interests pushing for the convention want to remove the "Forever Wild" clause that protects the wilderness in the Adirondacks and Catskills. Some want to eliminate the clause that prevents state monies from flowing to religious schools. Others wish to roll back the protections for workers, minorities and women. Still others wish to remove the constitutional protection of public employee pensions. How does any of this serve our interests? The answer is, it doesn't. Those that support a constitutional convention don't have our interests in mind.

Please join the Plainview Congress of Teachers in saying NO to a constitutional convention for the State of New York.

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