New Yorkers reject constitutional convention

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Voters on Tuesday resoundingly defeated a ballot question which, if approved, would have scheduled a constitutional convention in 2019.

Unions, environmental groups, Planned Parenthood and officials from both major political parties had urged opposition. They warned that deep-pocketed special interests could use a convention to undermine existing constitutional rights and noted that the constitution can already be amended through voter referendum.

Supporters argued a convention would provide a chance to address chronic corruption and porous campaign finance rules while strengthening protections for education, health care and the environment.

The question of a constitutional convention is automatically put on the ballot every 20 years. The last convention was held in 1967.

If the question had passed, voters would have later picked delegates for the convention. Any recommended changes to the state's governing document would have had to be ratified by a statewide vote.

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STRIPPING PENSIONS FOR CORRUPTION

Voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment allowing judges to strip the pensions of corrupt officials, no matter when they were elected.

A 2011 law allowed judges to revoke or reduce pensions of crooked lawmakers, but it didn't apply to sitting lawmakers at the time. A constitutional amendment was needed to cover all lawmakers, regardless of when they were elected. This year's ballot question, if approved, will close that loophole.

More than 30 lawmakers have left office facing allegations of corruption or misconduct since 2000.

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