Our State Constitution Should have a 25th Amendment, akin to that of the U.S. Constitution. -- Kaplowitz

8/21/2009 9:55:11 AM



(White Plains, NY) ~ It was about six weeks ago, during the now infamous New York State Senate stalemate, when Westchester County Legislator and Board Vice Chairman Michael B. Kaplowitz (D-I, Somers), first called for an amendment to the state constitution, in order to properly deal with a vacancy of the office of Lieutenant Governor and other statewide offices.


“In light of today’s ruling by the Court of Appeals, invalidating Gov. Paterson’s recent appointment of Mr. Ravitch as Lt. Governor, I think the time is appropriate for the State Legislature to begin the process of amending the constitution to include provisions for filling a vacancy in any of the three statewide offices; Lt. Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General,” said Kaplowitz.  “The amendment should be akin to the U.S. Constitution’s 25th Amendment which, in the case of Lt. Governor, would require the Governor to nominate someone who would assume the office of Lt. Governor if that person is confirmed by a majority vote of both the Assembly and the Senate.”


According to Kaplowitz, the replacement of Comptroller and Attorney General should be via a special election to be held within 90 days of the vacancy, in which time a temporary appointment may be made by a majority vote of the Legislature.


Kaplowitz noted that the reason for different processes is that the Lt. Governor is the only position out of the three statewide offices that is part of the Executive Branch.


“An amendment of the state constitution requires the vote of two consecutive legislatures.  Each legislature serves one two-year term.  Therefore, the time to begin this deliberation is now, so that a vote can be taken by the current legislature in 2010, and then the second vote by the next legislature in 2011,” stated Kaplowitz.  “This amendment would act as a type of insurance policy for the public in the sense that it would prevent any future instances of the extreme uncertainty, chaos and gridlock that took place in the Senate a couple of months ago.”