Kat has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management and teaches Business courses.
Background and Organization
On April 20, 1777, the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York approved the first New York Constitution. Later versions of the document were approved in 1821, 1846, 1894 and 1938, after which it was amended on several occasions.
The New York State Constitution is a document that defines the structure of the government. Within this document are 20 Articles, which talk about how government interacts with its citizens. In other words, it is like a step-by-step guide to how New York State's government works. The New York State Constitution:
- Describes how the government is organized
- Identifies each branch of government and its power limitations
- Provides a Bill of Rights for its citizens
Overview of the Articles
Let's take a look at each of the articles found in the New York State Constitution. As you'll read below, the last two are the only ones that do not define the rights and responsibilities of the people or government.
- Article 1: Bill of Rights. In this article, there are 18 sections that define the Bill of Rights for its citizens. Rights include a right to a trial by jury, fair wages and equal protection under the civil rights act, as well as other provisions that protect citizens.
- Article 2: Suffrage. This article talks about voting rights and responsibilities. Its sections range from voter qualification to the rights of those who are not permitted to vote by law.
- Article 3 - 6: Legislative, Executive, Officers and Civil Departments and Judiciary. All four of these articles speak to the powers of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of New York State government. This is where the power of each branch is defined. Article 5 involves civil positions like attorney general and others.
- Article 7 and 8: State and Local Finance. Both of these articles are about state and local finance, respectively. Article 7 is all about the state budget, while Article 8 is more about the local towns and their financial rights and responsibilities.
- Article 9: Local Governments. This article provides the Bill of Rights for local government, local laws and statute rights.
- Article 10: Corporations. Here is where the rights and responsibilities of public corporations and financial institutions including the port of authority are mapped out.
- Article 11: Education. The public school system and the Board of Regents who oversees it are governed by this article.
- Article 12: Defense. State defense and militia responsibilities and rights are explained in this article.
- Article 13: Public Officers. This article involves the rights and responsibilities of public officers including term length, pay and oath of office.
- Article 14-15: Conservation and Canals. Both of these articles speak to the preservation of land and canals, including the sale and use of each.
- Article 16: Taxation. This article determines who pays taxes, public official salaries and exemptions from taxation are contained in this one.
- Article 17: Social Welfare. Public health and social welfare are discussed in this article, which includes provisions ranging from the building of hospitals to the treatment and care of the mentally ill.
- Article 18: Housing. This article discusses housing rights and responsibilities, including low-income housing, nursing homes and the acquisition of property for the purpose of creating affordable communities.
- Article 19 - 20: Amendments and Take Effect. For instructions on how to amend the Constitution and the time limit for an amendment to take effect, one would check out Articles 19 and 20.
The New York State Constitution defines its structure of the government. It is composed 20 articles that talk about how the government should interact with its citizens in matters related to administrative branches, including their limitations and powers, as well as the rights of state residents. These are found in the 18-section Bill of Rights in Article 1. Articles 19 and 20 are the only ones unrelated to citizens' and government's right and responsibilities.
Issues related to the states executive branch, judicial matters and legislation are discussed in Articles 3-6. Rules and regulations concerning suffrage and education can be found in Articles 2 and 11 respectively. Articles 12 and 16 provide information about defense and taxation. The New York State Constitution also contains provisions about social welfare and housing in Articles 17 and 18.
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