New York State needs a constitutional convention

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Did you really think the dawn of another day was going to make a difference? The attempt to forge a leadership coalition in the State Senate once again devolved into an embarrassing game, proving that Albany cannot be shamed. While the immediate legislative fix seems elusive, there is a long-term solution New Yorkers should pursue: amending or rewriting the state's constitution to produce a more efficient government. This page already has advocated for an amendment calling for a special election for lieutenant governor if the post becomes vacant, as it is now. That would guarantee that there always would be a tiebreaking vote when the Senate is deadlocked. This Senate debacle is so disgusting, however, that voters might be ready to consider a full-scale constitutional convention to overhaul New York's rambling document - which addresses such minutiae as the size of ski trails and railroad grade crossings but is unclear on leadership succession. Just 12 days ago we noted that it had been 42 years since the last convention. That effort in 1967, however, cost $6.5 million - and not one recommendation was subsequently approved by the voters. In 1997, voters rejected a call for a "con-con," perhaps knowing that the same elected officials who couldn't deliver a budget on time wouldn't make very good delegates. As the current circus proves, if we do have one, it should have zero legislators involved. They don't know how to make the state work. hN

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