Statement from Speaker Carl Heastie

Credible and serious questions have been raised regarding the status of Assemblymember-elect Lester Chang’s eligibility to assume office given the residency requirements for service in the New York State Assembly as established in Article III, §7 of the New York State Constitution. The New York State Constitution is very clear:

§ 7. No person shall serve as a member of the legislature unless he or she is a citizen of the United States and has been a resident of the state of New York for five years, and, except as hereinafter otherwise prescribed, of the assembly or senate district for the twelve months immediately preceding his or her election; if elected a senator or member of assembly at the first election next ensuing after a readjustment or alteration of the senate or assembly districts becomes effective, a person to be eligible to serve as such, must have been a resident of the county in which the senate or assembly district is contained for the twelve months immediately preceding his or her election.

We have an obligation to ensure that all members adhere to these constitutional residency requirements. I have spoken to Minority Leader Barclay and have notified him that I am directing the Assembly Judiciary Committee, under the leadership of Chair Charles D. Lavine, to begin a review and to complete its work by the end of the month. The completed review will be forwarded to the new Assembly for consideration when it convenes in January.