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Local Groups React to Constitutional Convention

AFL CIO and Canisius College professor weigh in....

October 10, 2017 - 6:23 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - You probably noticed the lawn signs around Western New York which say "Vote No - Constitutional Convention".

 Labor unions and other groups, including the state rifle and pistol association are joining together to fight a ballot measure calling for New York to host a convention.

 People like Mario Cilento the President of the New York State AFL CIO said that it could strip away basic rights.

"For building trade workers, prevailing rate on public works projects are written into the constitution," Cilento said. "For all workers, and you don't need to be a union worker for this, worker's compensation, unemployment insurance, the eight-hour day, those are all written into the constitution."

Canisius Professor Peter Galie, a state consitution expert who has been touring the state to promote it explained that things arent that dire. 

"One of the distinctions we need to make is what is theoretically possible and what is likely," he said. "It is theoretically possible that a convention could eliminate the Bill of Rights. It could enable the governor be elected for a lifetime term. It could adopt a parliamentary system of government. It could eliminate local government. Is it likely to do one of those? Not even remotely."

READ MORE: Should NYS Hold a Constitutional Convention?

Every 20 years the state votes on whether to host a convention. If voters say yes, delegates would be chosen next year and the convention would occur in 2019.

This is seperate from two other ballot measures in November that would ask to change specific parts of the constitution, without a convention. Voters will say yes or no on depriving state pension from convicted public officials and also see a ballot measure on a change in environmental law. 

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