Let’s take one state issue at a time
New York voters were decisive in rejecting a constitutional convention in last week’s election — 78 percent voted no — but that doesn’t mean they don’t want things in this state to change.
We note the strong showing for a proposition to amend the state constitution that could strip pensions from corrupt government officials as proof of this.
It is difficult to amend the state constitution, but not impossible. Perhaps the hardest part of the pension forfeiture process was getting the legislation passed through both houses of the state Legislature — an action that only happened because voters in all 62 counties in New York state made it clear to their elected officials that pension forfeiture was something they wanted to see. Amending the constitution was almost easy once the Legislature took action.
Perhaps it’s time to make a concerted push to make it easier to vote in New York, to write campaign finance reform into the state constitution, to start a constitutionally created ethics commission with the power to prosecute violations of state ethics laws unencumbered by the need for legislative or gubernatorial approval, or even to enact term limits for legislative leaders to prevent small numbers of legislators from gaining the type of power that invites corruption, as happened in the cases of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
We find it hard to believe that pension forfeiture is the only thing a majority of state residents want to see changed in the state constitution. New Yorkers don’t need a constitutional convention to fix the state; rather, they simply need to keep the pressure on their elected representatives to change one issue at a time.