Assembly Passes Resolution Ensuring Decades Old Calls for Constitutional Conventions Aren't Manipulated for Future, Unrelated Purposes

Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Ken Zebrowski today announced that the Assembly passed a resolution rescinding all previous applications made by the New York State Legislature to call for a constitutional convention (K.797, Zebrowski).

“We cannot let Americans be held hostage to the whims of those that want to limit our rights or alter our democracy,” Speaker Heastie said. “By rescinding historical calls, we will ensure that the actions of our predecessors - decades or even centuries ago - are not manipulated in a way that would limit the rights of current and future generations.”

“Our rights are too important to leave up to chance,” said Assemblymember Zebrowski. “Definitively rescinding all previous calls for a constitutional convention will keep those working in bad faith from using resolutions passed in a different time and different context to alter the course of our country and our Constitution.”

The resolution passed today repeals and rescinds prior calls for a federal constitutional convention. This will ensure that wealthy interest groups are not able to apply New York’s previous, unrelated calls for a constitutional convention to hold one in the future.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows for the amending of the constitution upon application by two thirds of states. Constitutional scholars differ on if historical applications for a constitutional convention expire, and if regardless of the scope of the original resolution or application, a previous application could be used for unrelated calls in the future. New York State Legislature has passed resolutions calling for a constitutional convention three times in the past, including calling for amendments to the constitution to promote common interests and secure the inalienable rights of mankind in 1789, the repeal of the 18th amendment in 1931 and the allowance of public funds for secular education in 1972.