New York State Constitution - Current
New York State Constitution
As revised, including amendments effective January 1, 2022
KATHY HOCHUL ROBERT J. RODRIGUEZ
Governor Acting Secretary of State
This edition of the New York State Constitution, available at: https://dos.ny.gov, is provided as a public service by the:
Department of State
Division of Administrative Rules
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Albany, NY 12231-0001
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THE CONSTITUTION OF THE
STATE OF NEW YORK
As Revised, with Amendments adopted by the
Constitutional Convention of 1938 and Approved by Vote of the People on November 8, 1938 and
Amendments subsequently adopted by the Legislature and Approved by Vote of the People.
As Amended and in Force January 1, 2022
ARTICLE I BILL OF RIGHTS
§1. Rights, privileges and franchise secured; power of legislature to dispense with primary elections in certain cases.
2. Trial by jury; how waived.
3. Freedom of worship; religious liberty.
4. Habeas corpus.
5. Bail; fines; punishments; detention of witnesses.
6. Grand jury; protection of certain enumerated rights; duty of public officers to sign waiver of immunity and give testimony; penalty for refusal.
7. Compensation for taking private property; private roads; drainage of agricultural lands.
8. Freedom of speech and press; criminal prosecutions for libel.
9. Right to assemble and petition; divorce; lotteries; pool-selling and gambling; laws to prevent; pari-mutuel betting on horse races permitted; games of chance, bingo or lotto authorized under certain restrictions.
11. Equal protection of laws; discrimination in civil rights prohibited.
12. Security against unreasonable searches, seizures and interceptions.
14. Common law and acts of the colonial and state legislatures.
16. Damages for injuries causing death.
17. Labor not a commodity; hours and wages in public work; right to organize and bargain collectively.
18. Workers’ compensation.
19. Environmental rights.
§1. Qualifications of voters.
2. Absentee voting.
3. Persons excluded from the right of suffrage.
4. Certain occupations and conditions not to affect residence.
5. Registration and election laws to be passed.
6. Permanent registration.
7. Manner of voting; identification of voters.
8. Bi-partisan registration and election board. 9. Presidential elections; special voting procedures authorized.
§1. Legislative power.
2. Number and terms of senators and assemblymen.
3. Senate districts.
4. Readjustments and reapportionments; when federal census to control.
5. Apportionment of assemblymen; creation of assembly districts.
5-a. Definition of inhabitants.
5-b. Independent redistricting commission.
6. Compensation, allowances and traveling expenses of members.
7. Qualifications of members; prohibitions on certain civil appointments; acceptance to vacate seat.
8. Time of elections of members.
9. Powers of each house.
10. Journals; open sessions; adjournments.
11. Members not to be questioned for speeches.
12. Bills may originate in either house; may be amended by the other.
13. Enacting clause of bills; no law to be enacted except by bill.
14. Manner of passing bills; message of necessity for immediate vote.
15. Private or local bills to embrace only one subject, expressed in title.
16. Existing law not to be made applicable by reference.
17. Cases in which private or local bills shall not be passed.
18. Extraordinary sessions of the legislature; power to convene on legislative initiative.
19. Private claims not to be audited by legislature; claims barred by lapse of time.
20. Two-thirds bills.
21. Certain sections not to apply to bills recommended by certain commissioners or public agencies.
22. Tax laws to state tax and object distinctly; definition of income for income tax purposes by reference to federal laws authorized.
23. When yeas and nays necessary; three-fifths to constitute quorum.
24. Prison labor; contract system abolished.
25. Emergency governmental operations; legislature to provide for.
§1. Executive power; election and terms of governor and lieutenant governor.
2. Qualifications of governor and lieutenant-governor.
3. Powers and duties of governor; compensation.
4. Reprieves, commutations and pardons; powers and duties of governor relating to grants of.
5. When lieutenant-governor to act as governor.
6. Duties and compensation of lieutenant-governor; succession to the governorship.
7. Action by governor on legislative bills; reconsideration after veto.
8. Departmental rules and regulations; filing; publication.
OFFICERS AND CIVIL DEPARTMENTS
§1. Comptroller and attorney-general; payment of state moneys without audit void.
2. Civil departments in the state government.
3. Assignment of functions.
4. Department heads.
6. Civil service appointments and promotions; veterans’ credits.
7. Membership in retirement systems; benefits not to be diminished nor impaired.
§1. Unified court system; organization; process.
2. Court of appeals; organization; designations; vacancies, how filled; commission on judicial nomination.
3. Court of appeals; jurisdiction.
4. Judicial departments; appellate divisions, how constituted; governor to designate justices; temporary assignments; jurisdiction.
5. Appeals from judgment or order; new trial.
6. Judicial districts; how constituted; supreme court.
7. Supreme court; jurisdiction.
8. Appellate terms; composition; jurisdiction.
9. Court of claims; jurisdiction.
10. County courts; judges.
11. County court; jurisdiction.
12. Surrogate’s courts; judges; jurisdiction.
13. Family court; organization; jurisdiction.
14. Discharge of duties of more than one judicial office by same judicial officer.
15. New York city; city-wide courts; jurisdiction.
16. District courts; jurisdiction; judges.
17. Town, village and city courts; jurisdiction; judges.
18. Trial by jury; trial without jury; claims against state.
19. Transfer of actions and proceedings.
20. Judges and justices; qualifications; eligibility for other office or service; restrictions.
21. Vacancies; how filled.
22. Commission on judicial conduct; composition; organization and procedure; review by court of appeals; discipline of judges or jus- tices.
23. Removal of judges.
24. Court for trial of impeachments; judgment.
25. Judges and justices; compensation; retirement.
26. Temporary assignments of judges and justices.
27. Supreme court; extraordinary terms.
28. Administrative supervision of court system.
29. Expenses of courts.
30. Legislative power over jurisdiction and proceedings; delegation of power to regulate practice and procedure.
31. Inapplicability of article to certain courts.
32. Custodians of children to be of same religious persuasion.
33. Existing laws; duty of legislature to implement article.
34. Pending appeals, actions and proceedings; preservation of existing terms of office of judges and justices.
35. Certain courts abolished; transfer of judges, court personnel, and actions and proceedings to other courts.
36. Pending civil and criminal cases.
36-a. Effective date of certain amendments to articles VI and VII.
36-b. [No section.]
36-c. Effective date of certain amendments to article VI, section 22. 37. Effective date of article.
§1 Estimates by departments, the legislature and the judiciary of needed appropriations; hearings.
2. Executive budget.
3. Budget bills; appearances before legislature.
4. Action on budget bills by legislature; effect thereof.
5. Restrictions on consideration of other appropriations.
6. Restrictions on content of appropriation bills.
7. Appropriation bills.
8. Gift or loan of state credit or money prohibited; exceptions for enumerated purposes.
9. Short term state debts in anticipation of taxes, revenues and proceeds of sale of authorized bonds.
10. State debts on account of invasion, insurrection, war and forest fires.
11. State debts generally; manner of contracting; referendum.
12. State debts generally; how paid; contribution to sinking funds; restrictions on use of bond proceeds.
13. Refund of state debts.
14. State debt for elimination of railroad crossings at grade; expenses; how borne; construction and reconstruction of state highways and parkways.
15. Sinking funds; how kept and invested; income therefrom and application thereof.
16. Payment of state debts; when comptroller to pay without appropriation.
17. Authorizing the legislature to establish a fund or funds for tax revenue stabilization reserves; regulating payments thereto and withdrawals therefrom.
18. Bonus on account of service of certain veterans in World War II.
19. State debt for expansion of state university.
§1. Gift or loan of property or credit of local subdivisions prohibited; exceptions for enumerated purposes.
2. Restrictions on indebtedness of local subdivisions; contracting and payment of local indebtedness; exceptions.
2-a. Local indebtedness for water supply, sewage and drainage facilities and purposes; allocations and exclusions of indebtedness.
3. Restrictions on creation and indebtedness of certain corporations.
4. Limitations on local indebtedness.
5. Ascertainment of debt-incurring power of counties, cities, towns and villages; certain indebtedness to be excluded.
6. Debt-incurring power of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse; certain additional indebtedness to be excluded.
7. Debt-incurring power of New York city; certain additional indebtedness to be excluded.
7-a. Debt-incurring power of New York city; certain indebtedness for railroads and transit purposes to be excluded.
8. Indebtedness not to be invalidated by operation of this article.
9. When debt-incurring power of certain counties shall cease.
10. Limitations on amount to be raised by real estate taxes for local purposes; exceptions.
10-a. Application and use of revenues: certain public improvements.
11. Taxes for certain capital expenditures to be excluded from tax limitation.
12. Powers of local governments to be restricted; further limitations on contracting local indebtedness authorized.
§1. Bill of rights for local governments.
2. Powers and duties of legislature; home rule powers of local governments; statute of local governments.
3. Existing laws to remain applicable; construction; definitions.
ARTICLE X CORPORATIONS
§1. Corporations; formation of.
2. Dues of corporations.
3. Savings bank charters; savings and loan association charters; special charters not to be granted.
4. Corporations; definition; right to sue and be sued.
5. Public corporations; restrictions on creation and powers; accounts; obligations of.
6. Liability of state for payment of bonds of public corporation to construct state thruways; use of state canal lands and properties.
7. Liability of state for obligations of the port of New York authority for railroad commuter cars; limitations.
8. Liability of state on bonds of a public corporation to finance new industrial or manufacturing plants in depressed areas.
§1. Common schools.
2. Regents of the University.
3. Use of public property or money in aid of denominational schools prohibited; transportation of children authorized.
§1. Defense; militia.
§1. Oath of office; no other test for public office.
2. Duration of term of office.
3. Vacancies in office; how filled; boards of education.
4. Political year and legislative term.
5. Removal from office for misconduct.
6. When office to be deemed vacant; legislature may declare.
7. Compensation of officers.
8. Election and term of city and certain county officers. 9-12. [No sections 9-12; former 9-12 renumbered 4-7.] 13. Law enforcement and other officers.
14. Employees of, and contractors for, the state and local governments; wages, hours and other provisions to be regulated by legislature.
§1. Forest preserve to be forever kept wild; authorized uses and exceptions.
3. Forest and wild life conservation; use or disposition of certain lands authorized.
4. Protection of natural resources; development of agricultural lands.
5. Violations of article; how restrained. 6. Public utility lines and bicycle paths in forest preserves.
§1. Disposition of canals and canal properties prohibited.
2. Prohibition inapplicable to lands and properties no longer useful; disposition authorized.
3. Contracts for work and materials; special revenue fund.
4. Lease or transfer to federal government of barge canal system authorized.
§1. Power of taxation; exemptions from taxation.
2. Assessments for taxation purposes.
3. Situs of intangible personal property; taxation of.
4. Certain corporations not to be discriminated against.
5. Compensation of public officers and employees subject to taxation.
6. Public improvements or services; contract of indebtedness; creation of public corporations.
ARTICLE XVII SOCIAL WELFARE
§1. Public relief and care.
2. State board of social welfare; powers and duties.
3. Public health.
4. Care and treatment of persons suffering from mental disorder or defect; visitation of institutions for.
5. Institutions for detention of criminals; probation; parole; state commission of correction.
6. Visitation and inspection.
7. Loans for hospital construction.
ARTICLE XVIII HOUSING
§1. Housing and nursing home accommodations for persons of low income; slum clearance.
2. Idem; powers of legislature in aid of.
3. Article VII to apply to state debts under this article, with certain exceptions; amortization of state debts; capital and periodic subsidies.
4. Powers of cities, towns and villages to contract indebtedness in aid of low rent housing and slum clearance projects; restrictions thereon.
5. Liability for certain loans made by the state to certain public corporations.
6. Loans and subsidies; restrictions on and preference in occupancy of projects.
7. Liability arising from guarantees to be deemed indebtedness; method of computing.
8. Excess condemnation.
9. Acquisition of property for purposes of article. 10. Power of legislature; construction of article.
AMENDMENTS TO CONSTITUTION
§1. Amendments to constitution; how proposed, voted upon and ratified; failure of attorney-general to render opinion not to affect validity.
2. Future constitutional conventions; how called; election of delegates; compensation; quorum; submission of amendments; officers; employees; rules; vacancies. 3. Amendments simultaneously submitted by convention and legislature.
ARTICLE XX WHEN TO TAKE EFFECT
§1. Time of taking effect.
[Preamble] WE THE PEOPLE of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our Freedom, in order to secure its blessings, DO ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION.
ARTICLE IBILL OF RIGHTS
[Rights, privileges and franchise secured; power of legislature to dispense with primary elections in certain cases]Section 1. No member of this state shall be disfranchised, or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land, or the judgment of his or her peers, except that the legislature may provide that there shall be no primary election held to nominate candidates for public office or to elect persons to party positions for any political party or parties in any unit of representation of the state from which such candidates or persons are nominated or elected whenever there is no contest or contests for such nominations or election as may be prescribed by general law.
(Amended by vote of the people November 3, 1959; November 6, 2001.)
[Trial by jury; how waived]§2. Trial by jury in all cases in which it has heretofore been guaranteed by constitutional provision shall remain inviolate forever; but a jury trial may be waived by the parties in all civil cases in the manner to be prescribed by law. The legislature may provide, however, by law, that a verdict may be rendered by not less than five-sixths of the jury in any civil case. A jury trial may be waived by the defendant in all criminal cases, except those in which the crime charged may be punishable by death, by a written instrument signed by the defendant in person in open court before and with the approval of a judge or justice of a court having jurisdiction to try the offense. The legislature may enact laws, not inconsistent herewith, governing the form, content, manner and time of presentation of the instrument effectuating such waiver. (Amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people
November 8, 1938.)
[Freedom of worship; religious liberty]§3. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this state to all humankind; and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness on account of his or her opinions on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state. (Amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)
[Habeas corpus]§4. The privilege of a writ or order of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety requires it. (Amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938.)
[Bail; fines; punishments; detention of witnesses]§5. Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel and unusual punishments be inflicted, nor shall witnesses be unreasonably detained.
[Grand jury; protection of certain enumerated rights; duty of public officers to sign waiver of immunity and give testimony; penalty for refusal]§6. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime (except in cases of impeachment, and in cases of militia when in actual
service, and the land, air and naval forces in time of war, or which this state may keep with the consent of congress in time of peace, and in cases of petit under the regulation of the legislature), unless on indictment of a grand jury, except that a person held for the action of a grand jury upon a charge for such an offense, other than one punishable by death or life imprisonment, with the consent of the district attorney, may waive indictment by a grand jury and consent to be prosecuted on an information filed by the district attorney; such waiver shall be evidenced by written instrument signed by the defendant in open court in the presence of his or her counsel. In any trial in any court whatever the party accused shall be allowed to appear and defend in person and with counsel as in civil actions and shall be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation and be confronted with the witnesses against him or her. No person shall be subject to be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense; nor shall he or she be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself or herself, providing, that any public officer who, upon being called before a grand jury to testify concerning the conduct of his or her present office or of any public office held by him or her within five years prior to such grand jury call to testify, or the performance of his or her official duties in any such present or prior offices, refuses to sign a waiver of immunity against subsequent criminal prosecution, or to answer any relevant question concerning such matters before such grand jury, shall by virtue of such refusal, be disqualified from holding any other public office or public employment for a period of five years from the date of such refusal to sign a waiver of immunity against subsequent prosecution, or to answer any relevant question concerning such matters before such grand jury, and shall be removed from his or her present office by the appropriate authority or shall forfeit his or her present office at the suit of the attorney-general.
The power of grand juries to inquire into the willful misconduct in office of public officers, and to find indictments or to direct the filing of informations in connection with such inquiries, shall never be suspended or impaired by law. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. (Amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; further amended by vote of the people November 8, 1949; November 3, 1959; November 6, 1973; November 6, 2001.)
[Compensation for taking private property; private roads; drainage of agricultural lands]§7. (a) Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.
(c) Private roads may be opened in the manner to be prescribed by law; but in every case the necessity of the road and the amount of all damage to be sustained by the opening thereof shall be first determined by a jury of freeholders, and such amount, together with the expenses of the proceedings, shall be paid by the person to be benefitted.
(d) The use of property for the drainage of swamp or agricultural lands is declared to be a public use, and general laws may be passed permitting the owners or occupants of swamp or agricultural lands to construct and maintain for the drainage thereof, necessary drains, ditches and dykes upon the lands of others, under proper restrictions, on making just compensation, and such compensation together with the cost of such drainage may be assessed, wholly or partly, against any property benefitted thereby; but no special laws shall be enacted for such purposes. (Amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938. Subdivision (e) repealed by vote of the people November 5, 1963. Subdivision (b)
repealed by vote of the people November 3, 1964.)
[Freedom of speech and press; criminal prosecutions for libel]§8. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions or indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous is true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted; and the jury shall have the right to determine
the law and the fact. (Amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)
[Right to assemble and petition; divorce; lotteries; pool-selling and gambling; laws to prevent; pari-mutuel betting on horse races per- mitted; games of chance, bingo or lotto authorized under certain restrictions]
§9. 1. No law shall be passed abridging the rights of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government, or any department thereof; nor shall any divorce be granted otherwise than by due judicial proceedings; except as hereinafter provided, no lottery or the sale of lottery tickets, pool-selling, bookmaking, or any other kind of gambling, except lotteries operated by the state and the sale of lottery tickets in connection therewith as may be authorized and prescribed by the legislature, the net proceeds of which shall be applied exclusively to or in aid or support of education in this state as the legislature may prescribe, except pari-mutuel betting on horse races as may be prescribed by the legislature and from which the state shall derive a reasonable revenue for the support of government, and except casino gambling at no more than seven facilities as authorized and prescribed by the legislature shall hereafter be authorized or allowed within this state; and the legislature shall pass appropriate laws to prevent offenses against any of the provisions of this section. (Amendment approved by vote of the people November 5, 2013.)
2. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, any city, town or village within the state may by an approving vote of the majority of the qualified electors in such municipality voting on a proposition therefor submitted at a general or special election authorize, subject to state legislative supervision and control, the conduct of one or both of the following categories of games of chance commonly known as: (a) bingo or lotto, in which prizes are awarded on the basis of designated numbers or symbols on a card conforming to numbers or symbols selected at random; (b) games in which prizes are awarded on the basis of a winning number or numbers, color or colors, or symbol or symbols determined by chance from among those previously selected or played, whether determined as the result of the spinning of a wheel, a drawing or otherwise by chance. If authorized, such games shall be subject to the following restrictions, among others which may be prescribed by the legislature: (1) only bona fide religious, charitable or nonprofit organizations of veterans, volunteer firefighter and similar non-profit organizations shall be permitted to conduct such games; (2) the entire net proceeds of any game shall be exclusively devoted to the lawful purposes of such organizations; (3) no person except a bona fide member of any such organization shall participate in the management or operation of such game; and (4) no person shall receive any remuneration for participating in the management or operation of any such game. Unless otherwise provided by law, no single prize shall exceed two hundred fifty dollars, nor shall any series of prizes on one occasion aggregate more than one thousand dollars. The legislature shall pass appropriate laws to effectuate the purposes of this subdivision, ensure that such games are rigidly regulated to prevent commercialized gambling, prevent participation by criminal and other undesirable elements and the diversion of funds from the purposes authorized hereunder and establish a method by which a municipality which has authorized such games may rescind or revoke such authorization. Unless permitted by the legislature, no municipality shall have the power to pass local laws or ordinances relating to such games. Nothing in this section shall prevent the legislature from passing laws more restrictive than any of the provisions of this section. (Amendment approved by vote of the people November 7, 1939; further amended by vote of the people November 5, 1957; November 8, 1966; November 4, 1975; November 6, 1984; November 6, 2001.)
[Section 10, which dealt with ownership of lands, allodial tenures and escheats, was repealed by amendment approved by vote of the people November 6, 1962.]
[Equal protection of laws; discrimination in civil rights prohibited]
§11. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws of this state or any subdivision thereof. No person shall, because of race, color, creed or religion, be subjected to any discrimination in his or her civil rights by any other person or by any firm, corporation, or institution, or by the state or any agency or subdivision of the state. (New. Adopted by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)
[Security against unreasonable searches, seizures and interceptions]
§12. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable interception of telephone and telegraph communications shall not be violated, and ex parte orders or warrants shall issue only upon oath or affirmation that there is reasonable ground to believe that evidence of crime may be thus obtained, and identifying the particular means of communication, and particularly describing the person or persons whose communications are to be intercepted and the purpose thereof. (New. Adopted by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938.)
[Section 13, which dealt with purchase of lands of Indians, was repealed by amendment approved by vote of the people November 6, 1962.]
[Common law and acts of the colonial and state legislatures]§14. Such parts of the common law, and of the acts of the legislature of the colony of New York, as together did form the law of the said colony, on the nineteenth day of April, one thousand seven hundred seventy-five, and the resolutions of the congress of the said colony, and of the convention of the State of New York, in force on the twentieth day of April, one thousand seven hundred seventy-seven, which have not since expired, or been repealed or altered; and such acts of the legislature of this state as are now in force, shall be and continue the law of this state, subject to such alterations as the legislature shall make concerning the same. But all such parts of the common law, and such of the said acts, or parts thereof, as are repugnant to this constitution, are hereby abrogated. (Formerly §16. Renumbered and amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people
November 8, 1938.)
[Section 15, which dealt with certain grants of lands and of charters made by the king of Great Britain and the state and obligations and contracts not to be impaired, was repealed by amendment approved by vote of the people November 6, 1962.]
[Damages for injuries causing death]§16. The right of action now existing to recover damages for injuries resulting in death, shall never be abrogated; and the amount recoverable shall not be subject to any statutory limitation. (Formerly §18. Renumbered by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people
November 8, 1938.)
[Labor not a commodity; hours and wages in public work; right to organize and bargain collectively]§17. Labor of human beings is not a commodity nor an article of commerce and shall never be so considered or construed.
No laborer, worker or mechanic, in the employ of a contractor or sub- contractor engaged in the performance of any public work, shall be permitted to work more than eight hours in any day or more than five days in any week, except in cases of extraordinary emergency; nor shall he or she be paid less than the rate of wages prevailing in the same trade or occupation in the locality within the state where such public work is to be situated, erected or used.
Employees shall have the right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing. (New. Adopted by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)
[Workers’ compensation]§18. Nothing contained in this constitution shall be construed to limit the power of the legislature to enact laws for the protection of the lives, health, or safety of employees; or for the payment, either by employers, or by employers and employees or otherwise, either directly or through a state or other system of insurance or otherwise, of compensation for injuries to employees or for death of employees resulting from such injuries without regard to fault as a cause thereof, except where the injury is occasioned by the willful intention of the injured employee to bring about the injury or death of himself or herself or of another, or where the injury results solely from the intoxication of the injured employee while on duty; or for the adjustment, determination and settlement, with or without trial by jury, of issues which may arise under such legislation; or to provide that the right of such compensation, and the remedy therefor shall be exclusive of all other rights and remedies for injuries to employees or for death resulting from such injuries; or to provide that the amount of such compensation for death shall not exceed a fixed or determinable sum; provided that all moneys paid by an employer to his or her employees or their legal representatives, by reason of the enactment of any of the laws herein authorized, shall be held to be a proper charge in the cost of operating the business of the employer. (Formerly §19. Renumbered by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)
[Environmental rights] §19. Environmental rights. Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment. (Added by vote of the people November
ARTICLE II SUFFRAGE
[Qualifications of voters]Section 1. Every citizen shall be entitled to vote at every election for all officers elected by the people and upon all questions submitted to the vote of the people provided that such citizen is eighteen years of age or over and shall have been a resident of this state, and of the county, city, or village for thirty days next preceding an election. (Amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; further amended by vote of the people November 2, 1943; November 6, 1945; November 6, 1961; November 8, 1966; November 7, 1995.)
[Absentee voting]§2. The legislature may, by general law, provide a manner in which, and the time and place at which, qualified voters who, on the occurrence of any election, may be absent from the county of their residence or, if residents of the city of New York, from the city, and qualified voters who, on the occurrence of any election, may be unable to appear personally at the polling place because of illness or physical disability, may vote and for the return and canvass of their votes. (Formerly §1-a. Renumbered by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; amended by vote of the people November 4, 1947; November 8, 1955; November 5, 1963.)
[Persons excluded from the right of suffrage]§3. No person who shall receive, accept, or offer to receive, or pay, offer or promise to pay, contribute, offer or promise to contribute to another, to be paid or used, any money or other valuable thing as a compensation or reward for the giving or withholding a vote at an election, or who shall make any promise to influence the giving or withholding any such vote, or who shall make or become directly or indirectly interested in any bet or wager depending upon the result of any election, shall vote at such election; and upon challenge for such cause, the person so challenged, before the officers authorized for that purpose shall receive his or her vote, shall swear or affirm before such officers that he or she has not received or offered, does not expect to receive, has not paid, offered or promised to pay, contributed, offered or promised to contribute to another, to be paid or used, any money or other valuable thing as a compensation or reward for the giving or withholding a vote at such election, and has not made any promise to influence the giving or withholding of any such vote, nor made or become directly or indirectly interested in any bet or wager depending upon the result of such election. The legislature shall enact laws excluding from the right of suffrage all persons convicted of bribery or of any infamous crime. (Formerly §2. Renumbered by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)
[Certain occupations and conditions not to affect residence]§4. For the purpose of voting, no person shall be deemed to have gained or lost a residence, by reason of his or her presence or absence, while employed in the service of the United States; nor while engaged in the navigation of the waters of this state, or of the United States, or of the high seas; nor while a student of any seminary of learning; nor while kept at any almshouse, or other asylum, or institution wholly or partly supported at public expense or by charity; nor while confined in any public prison. (Formerly §3. Renumbered by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)
[Registration and election laws to be passed]§5. Laws shall be made for ascertaining, by proper proofs, the citizens who shall be entitled to the right of suffrage hereby established, and for the registration of voters; which registration shall be completed at least ten days before each election. Such registration shall not be required for town and village elections except by express provision of law. (Formerly §4. Renumbered by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; amended by vote of the people November 6, 1951; further amended by vote of the people November 8, 1955; November 8, 1966; November 7, 1995.)
[Permanent registration]§6. The legislature may provide by law for a system or systems of registration whereby upon personal application a voter may be registered and his or her registration continued so long as he or she shall remain qualified to vote from an address within the jurisdiction of the board with which such voter is registered. (New. Adopted by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; amended by vote of the people November 7, 1995; November 6, 2001.)
[Manner of voting; identification of voters]§7. All elections by the citizens, except for such town officers as may by law be directed to be otherwise chosen, shall be by ballot, or by such other method as may be prescribed by law, provided that secrecy in voting be preserved. The legislature shall provide for identification of voters through their signatures in all cases where personal registration is required and shall also provide for the signatures, at the time of voting, of all persons voting in person by ballot or voting machine, whether or not they have registered in person, save only in cases of illiteracy or physical disability. (Formerly §5. Renumbered and amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938.)
[Bi-partisan registration and election boards]§8. All laws creating, regulating or affecting boards or officers charged with the duty of qualifying voters, or of distributing ballots to voters, or of receiving, recording or counting votes at elections, shall secure equal representation of the two political parties which, at the general election next preceding that for which such boards or officers are to serve, cast the highest and the next highest number of votes. All such boards and officers shall be appointed or elected in such manner, and upon the nomination of such representatives of said parties respectively, as the legislature may direct. Existing laws on this subject shall continue until the legislature shall otherwise provide. This section shall not apply to town, or village elections. (Formerly §6. Renumbered and amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; further amended by vote of the people November 7, 1995.)
[Presidential elections; special voting procedures authorized]§9. Notwithstanding the residence requirements imposed by section one of this article, the legislature may, by general law, provide special procedures whereby every person who shall have moved from another state to this state or from one county, city or village within this state to another county, city or village within this state and who shall have been an inhabitant of this state in any event for ninety days next preceding an election at which electors are to be chosen for the office of president and vice president of the United States shall be entitled to vote in this state solely for such electors, provided such person is otherwise qualified to vote in this state and is not able to qualify to vote for such electors in any other state. The legislature may also, by general law, prescribe special procedures whereby every person who is registered and would be qualified to vote in this state but for his or her removal from this state to another state within one year next preceding such election shall be entitled to vote in this state solely for such electors, provided such person is not able to qualify to vote for such electors in any other state. (New. Added by vote of the people November 5, 1963; amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)
[Legislative power]Section 1. The legislative power of this state shall be vested in the senate and assembly.
[Number and terms of senators and assemblymen]§2. The senate shall consist of fifty 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 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 for two years. (Amended by vote of the people November 2, 1937; November 6, 2001.)
[Senate districts]§3. The senate districts, described in section three of article three of this constitution as adopted by the people on November sixth, eighteen hundred ninety-four are hereby continued for all of the purposes of future reapportionments of senate districts pursuant to section four of this article. (Formerly §3. Repealed and replaced by new §3 amended by vote of the people November 6, 1962.)
[Readjustments and reapportionments; when federal census to control]
§4. (a) Except as herein otherwise provided, the federal census taken in the year nineteen hundred thirty and each federal census taken decennially 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 state only as may be necessary, which shall supersede in part the federal 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 regular 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. 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. In the reapportionment of senate districts, no district shall 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 inhabitants, 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 organized, which are adjoining counties, or which are separated only by public waters, shall have more than one-half of all the senators.
(b) The independent redistricting commission established pursuant to section five-b of this article shall prepare a redistricting plan to establish senate, assembly, and congressional districts every ten years commencing in two thousand twenty-one, and shall submit to the legislature such plan and the implementing legislation therefor on or before January first or as soon as practicable thereafter but no later than January fifteenth in the year ending in two beginning in two thousand twenty-two. The redistricting plans for the assembly and the senate shall be contained in and voted upon by the legislature in a single bill, and the congressional district plan may be included in the same bill if the legislature chooses to do so. The implementing legislation shall be voted upon, without amendment, by the senate or the assembly and if approved by the first house voting upon it, such legislation shall be delivered to the other house immediately to be voted upon without amendment. If approved by both houses, such legislation shall be presented to the governor for action. If either house shall fail to approve the legislation implementing the first redistricting plan, or the governor shall veto such legislation and the legislature shall fail to override such veto, each house or the governor if he or she vetoes it, shall notify the commission that such legislation has been disapproved. Within fifteen days of such notification and in no case later than February twenty-eighth, the redistricting commission shall prepare and submit to the legislature a second redistricting plan and the necessary implementing legislation for such plan. Such legislation shall be voted upon, without amendment, by the senate or the assembly and, if approved by the first house voting upon it, such legislation shall be delivered to the other house immediately to be voted upon without amendment. If approved by both houses, such legislation shall be presented to the governor for action. If either house shall fail to approve the legislation implementing the second redistricting plan, or the governor shall veto such legislation and the legislature shall fail to override such veto, each house shall introduce such implementing legislation with any amendments each house of the legislature deems necessary. All such amendments shall comply with the provisions of this article. If approved by both houses, such legislation shall be presented to the governor for action. All votes by the senate or assembly on any redistricting plan legislation pursuant to this article shall be conducted in accordance with the following rules:
(1) In the event that the speaker of the assembly and the temporary president of the senate are members of two different political parties, approval of legislation submitted by the independent redistricting commission pursuant to subdivision (f) of section five-b of this article shall require the vote in support of its passage by at least a majority of the members elected to each house.
(2) In the event that the speaker of the assembly and the temporary president of the senate are members of two different political parties, approval of legislation submitted by the independent redistricting commission pursuant to subdivision (g) of section five-b of this article shall require the vote in support of its passage by at least sixty percent of the members elected to each house.
(3) In the event that the speaker of the assembly and the temporary president of the senate are members of the same political party, approval of legislation submitted by the independent redistricting commission pursuant to subdivision (f) or (g) of section five-b of this article shall require the vote in support of its passage by at least two-thirds of the members elected to each house.
(c) Subject to the requirements of the federal constitution and statutes and in compliance with state constitutional requirements, the following principles shall be used in the creation of state senate and state assembly districts and congressional districts:
(1) When drawing district lines, the commission shall consider whether such lines would result in the denial or abridgement of racial or language minority voting rights, and districts shall not be drawn to have the purpose of, nor shall they result in, the denial or abridgement of such rights. Districts shall be drawn so that, based on the totality of the circumstances, racial or minority language groups do not have less opportunity to participate in the political process than other members of the electorate and to elect representatives of their choice.
(2) To the extent practicable, districts shall contain as nearly as may be an equal number of inhabitants. For each district that deviates from this requirement, the commission shall provide a specific public explanation as to why such deviation exists.
(3) Each district shall consist of contiguous territory.
(4) Each district shall be as compact in form as practicable.
(5) Districts shall not be drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other particular candidates or political parties. The commission shall consider the maintenance of cores of existing districts, of pre-existing political subdivisions, including counties, cities, and towns, and of communities of interest.
(6) In drawing senate districts, 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 inhabitants. The requirements that senate districts not divide counties or towns, as well as the 'block-on-border' and 'town-on-border' rules, shall remain in effect. During the preparation of the redistricting plan, the independent redistricting commission shall conduct not less than one public hearing on proposals for the redistricting of congressional and state legislative districts in each of the following (i) cities: Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, and White Plains; and (ii) counties: Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Nassau, and Suffolk. Notice of all such hearings shall be widely published using the best available means and media a reasonable time before every hearing. At least thirty days prior to the first public hearing and in any event no later than September fifteenth of the year ending in one or as soon as practicable thereafter, the independent redistricting commission shall make widely available to the public, in print form and using the best available technology, its draft redistricting plans, relevant data, and related information. Such plans, data, and information shall be in a form that allows and facilitates their use by the public to review, analyze, and comment upon such plans and to develop alternative redistricting plans for presentation to the commission at the public hearings. The independent redistricting commission shall report the findings of all such hearings to the legislature upon submission of a redistricting plan.
(d) The ratio for apportioning senators shall always be obtained by dividing 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 immediately 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 expirations,and or the formation of assembly districts.
(e) The process for redistricting congressional and state legislative districts established by this section and sections five and five-b of this article shall govern redistricting in this state except to the extent that a court is required to order the adoption of, or changes to, a redistricting plan as a remedy for a violation of law. A reapportionment plan and the districts contained in such plan shall be in force until the effective date of a plan based upon the subsequent federal decennial census taken in a year ending in zero unless modified pursuant to court order. (Amended by vote of the people November 6, 1945; further amended by vote of the people November 4, 2014.)
[Apportionment of assemblymen; creation of assembly districts]§5. The members of the assembly shall be chosen by single districts and shall be apportioned pursuant to this section and sections four and five-b of this article at each regular session at which the senate districts are readjusted or altered, and by the same law, among the several counties of the state, as nearly as may be according to the number of their respective inhabitants, excluding aliens. Every county heretofore established and separately organized, except the county of Hamilton, shall always be entitled to one member of assembly, and no county shall hereafter be erected unless its population shall entitle it to a member. The county of Hamilton shall elect with the county of Fulton, until the population of the county of Hamilton shall, according to the ratio, entitle it to a member. But the legislature may abolish the said county of Hamilton and annex the territory thereof to some other county or counties.
The quotient obtained by dividing the whole number of inhabitants of the state, excluding aliens, by the number of members of assembly, shall be the ratio for apportionment, which shall be made as follows: One member of assembly shall be apportioned to every county, including Fulton and Hamilton as one county, containing less than the ratio and one-half over. Two members shall be apportioned to every other county. The remaining members of assembly shall be apportioned to the counties having more than two ratios according to the number of inhabitants, excluding aliens. Members apportioned on remainders shall be apportioned to the counties having the highest remainders in the order thereof respectively. No county shall have more members of assembly than a county having a greater number of inhabitants, excluding aliens.
The assembly districts, including the present ones, as existing immediately before the enactment of a law making an apportionment of members of assembly among the counties, shall continue to be the assembly districts of the state until the expiration of the terms of members then in office, except for the purpose of an election of members of assembly for full terms beginning at such expirations.
In any county entitled to more than one member, the board of supervisors, and in any city embracing an entire county and having no board of supervisors, the common council, or if there be none, the body exercising the powers of a common council, shall assemble at such times as the legislature making an apportionment shall prescribe, and divide such counties into assembly districts as nearly equal in number of inhabitants, excluding aliens, as may be, of convenient and contiguous territory in as compact form as practicable, each of which shall be wholly within a senate district formed under the same apportionment, equal to the number of members of assembly to which such county shall be entitled, and shall cause to be filed in the office of the secretary of state and of the clerk of such county, a description of such districts, specifying the number of each district and of the inhabitants thereof, excluding aliens, according to the census or enumeration used as the population basis for the formation of such districts; and such apportionment and districts shall remain unaltered until after the next reapportionment of members of assembly, except that the board of supervisors of any county containing a town having more than a ratio of apportionment and one-half over may alter the assembly districts in a senate district containing such town at any time on or before March first, nineteen hundred forty-six. In counties having more than one senate district, the same number of assembly districts shall be put in each senate district, unless the assembly districts cannot be evenly divided among the senate districts of any county, in which case one more assembly district shall be put in the senate district in such county having the largest, or one less assembly district shall be put in the senate district in such county having the smallest number of inhabitants, excluding aliens, as the case may require. Nothing in this section shall prevent the division, at any time, of counties and towns and the erection of new towns by the legislature.
An apportionment by the legislature, or other body, shall be subject to review by the supreme court, at the suit of any citizen, under such reasonable regulations as the legislature may prescribe; and any court before which a cause may be pending involving an apportionment, shall give precedence thereto over all other causes and proceedings, and if said court be not in session it shall convene promptly for the disposition of the same. The court shall render its decision within sixty days after a petition is filed. In any judicial proceeding relating to redistricting of congressional or state legislative districts, any law establishing congressional or state legislative districts found to violate the provisions of this article shall be invalid in whole or in part. In the event that a court finds such a violation, the legislature shall have a full and reasonable opportunity to correct the law's legal infirmities. (Amended by vote of the people November 6, 1945; further amended by vote of the people November 4, 2014.)
[Definition of inhabitants]§5-a. For the purpose of apportioning senate and assembly districts pursuant to the foregoing provisions of this article, the term “inhabitants, excluding aliens” shall mean the whole number of persons. (New. Added by vote of the people November 4, 1969.)
[Independent redistricting commission]§5-b. (a) On or before February first of each year ending with a zero and at any other time a court orders that congressional or state legislative districts be amended, an independent redistricting commission shall be established to determine the district lines for congressional and state legislative offices. The independent redistricting commission shall be composed of ten members, appointed as follows:
(1) two members shall be appointed by the temporary president of the senate;
(2) two members shall be appointed by the speaker of the assembly;
(3) two members shall be appointed by the minority leader of the senate;
(4) two members shall be appointed by the minority leader of the assembly;
(5) two members shall be appointed by the eight members appointed pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (4) of this subdivision by a vote of not less than five members in favor of such appointment, and these two members shall not have been enrolled in the preceding five years in either of the two political parties that contain the largest or second largest number of enrolled voters within the state;
(6) one member shall be designated chair of the commission by a majority of the members appointed pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (5) of this subdivision to convene and preside over each meeting of the commission.
(b) The members of the independent redistricting commission shall be registered voters in this state. No member shall within the last three years:
(1) be or have been a member of the New York state legislature or United States Congress or a statewide elected official;
(2) be or have been a state officer or employee or legislative employee as defined in section seventy-three of the public officers law;
(3) be or have been a registered lobbyist in New York state;
(4) be or have been a political party chairman, as defined in paragraph (k) of subdivision one of section seventy-three of the public officers law;
(5) be the spouse of a statewide elected official or of any member of the United States Congress, or of the state legislature.
(c) To the extent practicable, the members of the independent redistricting commission shall reflect the diversity of the residents of this state with regard to race, ethnicity, gender, language, and geographic residence and to the extent practicable the appointing authorities shall consult with organizations devoted to protecting the voting rights of minority and other voters concerning potential appointees to the commission.
(d) Vacancies in the membership of the commission shall be filled within thirty days in the manner provided for in the original appointments.
(e) The legislature shall provide by law for the compensation of the members of the independent redistricting commission, including compensation for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
(f) A minimum of five members of the independent redistricting commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business or the exercise of any power of such commission prior to the appointment of the two commission members appointed pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) of this section, and a minimum of seven members shall constitute a quorum after such members have been appointed, and no exercise of any power of the independent redistricting commission shall occur without the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the members, provided that, in order to approve any redistricting plan and implementing legislation, the following rules shall apply:
(1) In the event that the speaker of the assembly and the temporary pre