Proposed Legislative Amendment on Public Information

Amendment Purpose: 
1967 Constitutional Convention Amendment: Accounts of public authorities are made public by comptroller
Summary of Amendment: 
  • Continues powers and elective offices of Comptroller and Attorney General.
  • Gives Governor greater flexibility to reorganize state government departments, subject to disapproval by either house of legislature. 
  • Requires legislature to set up independent review of rules, regulations and adjudications of state agencies. 
  • Increases membership of Public Service Commission from 5 to 7, 3 to be elected by legislature, instead of all being appointed by the Governor with advice and consent of the Senate. 
  • Adds requirement for public hearings before creation of any public authority and broadens audit power of Comptroller over authorities. 

Article VI

State Departments & Office & Public Authorities

Section 5. The article governs the creation of public authorities, and defines certain aspects of their powers and their relationships to the state and local governments. Authorities may be created and their powers altered only by special act, after public hearing. They may not levy taxes or special assessments on real property. The state or an appropriate political subdivision may acquire all of the properties and pay all of the indebtedness of any public authority. The accounts of public authorities are made subject to supervision by the state comptroller and his report and recommendations thereon are made public. 

Legislative Amendment Text: 

Article VI

State Departments & Office & Public Authorities

 § 9. a. Wherever possible, public purposes shall be accomplished through the state and units of local government. Where specialized governmental instrumentalities, including public authorities, may be better suited for the discharge of limited functions or particular tasks, they may be created. 

b. (1) No public authority shall be created except by special act after a public hearing held in the manner prescribed by law, nor shall the fiscal powers, functional or area jurisdiction, or term of existence of a public authority be enlarged except in the same manner. Every special act creating a public authority shall contain a provision for its termination. 

(2) As used in this section, "public authority" means a public corporation (other than a local government, school district or fire district or an improvement district established in a town or towns) possessing both the power to contract indebtedness directly, or indirectly through another public authority, and either (a) the power to collect rentals, charges, rates, or fees for its facilities, or (b) the power to provide services or assistance for a public purpose for which charges may be imposed. 

(3) No public authority shall have the power to levy taxes or benefit assessments upon real estate, or to require that such taxes or assessments be levied. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall be construed to impair such powers of any existing public authority. 

(4) (a) Neither the state nor any of its political subdivisions shall guarantee the obligations of a public authority, but may be authorized by the legislature to acquire all the properties and pay all the indebtedness of such authority. 

(b) The state may make grants periodically by contract to a public authority, acting as an instrumentality of a political subdivision, heretofore or hereafter created for economic and community development purposes or any combination thereof, and any political subdivision of the state may make such grants to any such authority acting as an instrumentality of such subdivision. 

(5) The accounts of every public authority, except those created by agreement or compact with another state or a foreign power, shall be subject to the supervision of the state comptroller who shall examine their records from time to time, including any matters relating to their financial standing and operations. He is authorized to examine the records of public authorities created by agreement or compact with another state or foreign power. The state comptroller shall report his findings and recommendations resulting from each such examination to the governor and the legislature, and all such reports shall be available for public inspection.

(6) Where any of the members of the board of a public authority are appointed by the chief executive officer or governing body of a local government, such local government may also examine the records of such public authority and report thereon in the manner provided by law and all such reports shall be available for public inspection.

Legislative History: 

In 1967, the New York State Constitutional Convention proposed a whole new Constitution that contained this provision and these changes to a vote of the people of the State of New York at the General Election asking "Shall the proposed new Constitution, adopted by the Constitutional Convention, and the Resolution submitting same, be approved?"  The Constitution as a whole was voted down by the people, which included these changes. 

Learn more on our page devoted to the 1967 Convention.  The Proceedings of the Convention are available from the New York State Library and you can download; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; background-position: 100% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat; "> a PDF copy of the Constitution proposed by the 1967 Constitutional Convention.




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