Bill S2861-2011

Provides that the senate shall be composed of 62 senators, each representing 1 county of the state

Provides that the senate shall be composed of 62 senators, each representing 1 county of the state.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 9, 2012: TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR OPINION
  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO JUDICIARY
  • Apr 27, 2011: OPINION REFERRED TO JUDICIARY
  • Feb 7, 2011: TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR OPINION
  • Feb 2, 2011: REFERRED TO JUDICIARY

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2861

TITLE OF BILL: CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY proposing amendments to sections 2 and 4 of article 3 of the constitution, in relation to the number of senators and the apportionment of senate districts

PURPOSE: To change the method of apportioning State Senators.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends Sections 2 and 4 of Article III of the State Constitution to award each county of the state a single Senator to represent it in the state legislature.

Section 2 contains the effective date

JUSTIFICATION: The "One man-one vote" 1964 Supreme Court decision of Lucas v. Colorado General Assembly invalidated the long established constitutional method of apportioning representatives to the New York state legislature. In many ways the pre Lucas methodology for apportioning representatives mirrored that prescribed in the Federal Constitution as a means to balance the interests of small densely populated regions in comparison to sparsely populated but geographically large rural regions. The bicameral legislature established by the united States Constitution was an ingenious means to assure fair representation for residents of both highly populous states (the House of Representative) and states with small populations (the Senate.) In short, Lucas v. Colorado General Assembly was arguably decided wrongly, in that it denied to the states the ability to enact this very same compromise and same protections for their smaller counties and more sparsely inhabited regions. Perhaps no state was more drastically affected than New York.

Because New York City and its immediate surrounding contain such a disproportionate amount of our state's population, the unintended consequence of Lucas has been to effectively disempower virtually any state resident outside of the immediate vicinity of New York City. While the motivation behind the Lucas decision was in may ways laudable, the decision itself ran counter to the example set by our own federal constitution as it established our National legislative bodies.

As the representatives of New York City quite naturally focus on the needs of their own constituents many Issues critical to the prosperity of Upstate New York have been routinely ignored over the past few years. As Upstate New Yorkers have watched jobs,

opportunities, and inhabitants leave their region due to excessive taxation and general neglect they watched in 2009 as the state legislature battled for days to prevent minimal subway fare increases in New York city while letting the state finances approach the point of near collapse. A more equitable distribution of representatives might well lead to better and less parochial government for all New Yorkers.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-2010: S.7631/A.9494

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That the foregoing amendment be referred to the first regular legislative session convening after the next succeeding general election of members of the assembly, and in conformity with section 1 of article 19 of the constitution, be published for 3 months previous to the time of such election.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2861 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 2, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. DeFRANCISCO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY proposing amendments to sections 2 and 4 of article 3 of the constitu- tion, in relation to the number of senators and the apportionment of senate districts Section 1. Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That sections 2 and 4 of article 3 of the constitution be amended to read as follows: S 2. The senate shall consist of [fifty] SIXTY-TWO members[, except as hereinafter provided]. The senators [elected in the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety-five shall hold their offices for three years, and their successors] shall be [chosen] ELECTED for two years. The assembly shall consist of one hundred and fifty members. The assembly members [elected in the year one thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight, and their successors,] shall be [chosen] ELECTED for two years. S 4. Except as herein otherwise provided, the federal census taken in the year nineteen hundred thirty and each federal census taken decenni- ally thereafter shall be controlling as to the number of inhabitants in the state or any part thereof for the purposes of the apportionment of members of assembly and readjustment or alteration of [senate and] assembly districts next occurring, in so far as such census and the tabulation thereof purport to give the information necessary therefor. The legislature, by law, shall provide for the making and tabulation by state authorities of an enumeration of the inhabitants of the entire state to be used for such purposes, instead of a federal census, if the taking of a federal census in any tenth year from the year nineteen hundred thirty be omitted or if the federal census fails to show the number of aliens or Indians not taxed. If a federal census, though giving the requisite information as to the state at large, fails to give the information as to any civil or territorial divisions which is required to be known for such purposes, the legislature, by law, shall provide for such an enumeration of the inhabitants of such parts of the EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD89039-01-1 S. 2861 2 state only as may be necessary, which shall supersede in part the feder- al census and be used in connection therewith for such purposes. The legislature, by law, may provide in its discretion for an enumeration by state authorities of the inhabitants of the state, to be used for such purposes, in place of a federal census, when the return of a decennial federal census is delayed so that it is not available at the beginning of the regular session of the legislature in the second year after the year nineteen hundred thirty or after any tenth year therefrom, or if an apportionment of members of assembly [and readjustment or alteration of senate districts] is not made at or before such a session. [At the regu- lar session in the year nineteen hundred thirty-two, and at the first regular session after the year nineteen hundred forty and after each tenth year therefrom the senate districts shall be readjusted or altered, but if, in any decade, counting from and including that which begins with the year nineteen hundred thirty-one, such a readjustment or alteration is not made at the time above prescribed, it shall be made at a subsequent session occurring not later than the sixth year of such decade, meaning not later than nineteen hundred thirty-six, nineteen hundred forty-six, nineteen hundred fifty-six, and so on; provided, however, that if such districts shall have been readjusted or altered by law in either of the years nineteen hundred thirty or nineteen hundred thirty-one, they shall remain unaltered until the first regular session after the year nineteen hundred forty. Such districts shall be so read- justed or altered that each senate district shall contain as nearly as may be an equal number of inhabitants, excluding aliens, and be in as compact form as practicable, and shall remain unaltered until the first year of the next decade as above defined, and shall at all times consist of contiguous territory, and no county shall be divided in the formation of a senate district except to make two or more senate districts wholly in such county. No town, except a town having more than a full ratio of apportionment, and no block in a city inclosed by streets or public ways, shall be divided in the formation of senate districts; nor shall any district contain a greater excess in population over an adjoining district in the same county, than the population of a town or block therein adjoining such district. Counties, towns or blocks which, from their location, may be included in either of two districts, shall be so placed as to make said districts most nearly equal in number of inhabit- ants, excluding aliens. No county shall have four or more senators unless it shall have a full ratio for each senator. No county shall have more than one-third of all the senators; and no two counties or the territory thereof as now organ- ized, which are adjoining counties, or which are separated only by public waters, shall have more than one-half of all the senators. The ratio for apportioning senators shall always be obtained by divid- ing the number of inhabitants, excluding aliens, by fifty, and the senate shall always be composed of fifty members, except that if any county having three or more senators at the time of any apportionment shall be entitled on such ratio to an additional senator or senators, such additional senator or senators shall be given to such county in addition to the fifty senators, and the whole number of senators shall be increased to that extent. The senate districts, including the present ones, as existing imme- diately before the enactment of a law readjusting or altering the senate districts, shall continue to be the senate districts of the state until the expirations of the terms of the senators then in office, except for the purpose of an election of senators for full terms beginning at such S. 2861 3 expirations, and for the formation of assembly districts] EACH COUNTY HERETOFORE ESTABLISHED AND SEPARATELY ORGANIZED SHALL BE REPRESENTED BY A SINGLE MEMBER OF THE SENATE, AND EVERY SENATE DISTRICT SHALL BE CONTIGUOUS WITH THE BOUNDARIES OF A COUNTY OF THE STATE. S 2. Resolved (if the Assembly concur), That the foregoing be referred to the first regular legislative session convening after the next succeeding general election of members of the assembly, and, in conform- ity with section 1 of article 19 of the constitution, be published for 3 months previous to the time of such election.

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