WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Some state legislators want to extend legislative terms from two to four years and the Senate took the first step Wednesday, June 11, by passing a resolution 41-16 to set up an amendment to the state Constitution.
The resolution has a long road ahead of it, which would end with a ballot referendum and public vote, state Sen. George Latimer (D-Port Chester), told Daily Voice. The former assemblyman and Rye City councilman voted against the resolution.
The state Assembly must also pass the resolution and Gov. Andrew Cuomo must sign it. Then, it must pass both houses of the state legislature in a second consecutive legislature – meaning after an election – and be signed by the governor, before it can be put on the ballot in November 2015.
If either house votes it down, the resolution dies and the two-year process starts again, Latimer said.
"Voters want elected officials to be more accountable for their actions, not less so,” Latimer said. “Until we clean up corruption and tighten up loose campaign finance rules, we don't deserve longer terms".
Proponents of the resolution say if they campaign less often they can spend less time raising money and more time governing.
“I agree that’s a good thing,” Latimer said. “Less campaigning and more governing is a good strategy. But, unless you can show how you’re going to use that extra time it’s very hard.”
Four-year terms are not unprecedented with many officials serving four-year terms across the state, including Cuomo, and his Republican challenger Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
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