New York State Temporary State Commission on Constitutional Revision Subject and Correspondence Files

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

The series consists of records from the Temporary State Commission on Constitutional Revision documenting work on plans for the 1997 ballot questions: should a constitutional convention be held, what issues should be examined, and what rules and procedures should be followed. Included are meeting agendas and minutes; interim and final reports; transcriptions and testimony from public hearings; correspondence; study reports; press releases; briefing book; script of a video presentation for public television; speeches; and news clippings.
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Administrative History

The Temporary State Commission on Constitutional Revision was established by Governor Mario Cuomo through executive order 172 of May 1993. Its function was to help New Yorkers prepare for a mandatory ballot question in 1997 on whether a state constitutional convention should be called. The state constitution (article XIX, section 2) required such a vote every 20 years. In 1977, New Yorkers voted against calling a convention.

To carry out its function the commission held public hearings, received input from a wide variety of public officials, interest groups and citizens, and prepared issue papers and interim and final reports with recommendations. The final report, issued in February 1995, recommended New Yorkers vote "yes" to the 1997 ballot question of whether to hold a convention. It also recommended four major areas--education, criminal justice, state/local relations, and fiscal integrity--where the convention should consider constitutional reform.

The commission consisted of 17 members, chaired by Peter Goldmark of the Rockefeller Institute of Government, and maintained offices at the Institute in Albany and in New York City. The Institute handled personnel and fiscal matters. The commission concluded its work and closed operations in March of 1995.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of records showing the commission's work to examine whether a constitutional convention should be held, what issues should be examined, and the rules and procedures it should follow. A decision whether to hold a convention is mandated by the state constitution and comes before the people for a vote every 20 years. The records document work to plan for the 1997 ballot question, and the possibility of a subsequent constitutional convention in 2017 and later years as the recurring ballot question arises.

The records include meeting agendas and minutes; draft and final versions of iterim and final reports; transcripts, copies of testimony, and working notes from six public hearings held around the state in 1994; correspondence of chairman Peter Goldmark, director of communications Pauline Toole, and other staff with state legislators, government officials, interest groups and others; study reports prepared by consultants to the commission on possible procedures and issues for a convention to follow and examine; copies of commission brochures, newsletters (four published in 1994-1995), press releases, and a briefing book publicizing and promoting commission work;

the script of a video presentation prepared by the commission for distribution to New York public television and other public access television stations; speeches of the chairman and news clippings concerning the commission and issues relevant to its work.

Use of Records

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There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this material.

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