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‘People’s Veto’ Bill Referred To AG

Members of the New York Assembly. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

A state Assembly bill that would establish a “people’s veto” of laws enacted by the state Legislature has been referred to the state Attorney General for an opinion.

The legislation, A.7343, is sponsored by Assemblyman Fred Thiele, D-Bridgehampton, and would amend the state Constitution by adding a new section providing for the people’s veto by creating a procedure that would require 5 percent of the voters in the last statewide gubernatorial election to file a petition with the state Secretary of State.

Voters would be given 90 days to gather enough signatures, and the petition would request that the provisions specified in the petition not take effect until 30 days after the governor announces that the legislation has been ratified by a majority of the voters in the next general statewide election.

Legislation would be eligible for the people’s veto if it increases, extends, imposes or revives any tax, fee, assessment, surcharge or any other levy or collection. At least half of the signatures would have to be from voters residing outside of a city with a population of one million people or more.

Companion legislation has been introduced in the state Senate, where it was referred to the Judiciary Committee. An Attorney General’s opinion was requested in February and returned to the Senate committee in early March.

The people’s veto has been introduced in every legislative session since 2009-10, never making it out of committee in the Senate.

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