NYS Constitutional Convention Toolkit
August 21, 2017
Break Up NY? There’s A Con Con For That. Some of the strange bedfellows pro con con forces include
A group that wants to see New York state split into separate regions is backing a referendum this November in support of a constitutional convention. The group, Divide NYS Caucus, is backing the referendum with the hope the convention will lead to changes to the state government that include term limits, budget and ethics reform and “the power to separate NYS into two or three Autonomous Regions.”
Cleaving New York into separate jurisdictions isn’t a new impulse in the large and diverse state. There have been attempts over the years to separate upstate counties from downstate or spin off Long Island into separate state — though none have been successful.
The theory is upstate communities are different — culturally, economically — from the New York City area. Smaller bore efforts in recent years have included proposals that would repeal the SAFE Act — a gun control package deeply opposed by Second Amendment advocates — north of the New York City region.
John Berenger, the chairman of the Divide NYS Caucus, wrote in an email news release on Monday he wanted to see an end to the concentration of power by the state’s top three elected officials — the governor, Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader — and hopes the convention is the best way to achieve that.
“While at the same time our state is NOT doing the basic things government is created for such as maintaining the highways, the subways, clean water systems, working sewer systems that do not pollute, and many other things,” he wrote. “All these problems are caused by our leaders playing politics rather than governing.