ALBANY, NY (11/30/2015)(readMedia)-- Although the vote is two years away, the phrase "possible New York State constitutional convention" is being bandied about by government reformers, policy wonks, politicians, editorial writers and others across New York.

In 2017, New York voters will decide on whether to authorize a convention to consider revising the New York State Constitution. The Constitution itself requires such a ballot question every 20 years.

So what's involved in staging a constitutional convention? Find out at a Constitutional Convention "Boot Camp for Reporters"-and producers, editorial writers, columnists and other journalists.

When: Monday, December 7 from 10 a.m. to noon

Where: New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, NY (near Court of Appeals); or live on the web (link available upon registration).

The Boot Camp will feature the five most knowledgeable authorities on the New York State Constitution and the convention process. They include:

Gerald Benjamin is the associate vice president for regional engagement and director of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz. He previously served as chair of the Department of Political Science and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the college. Professor Benjamin also is former director of New York State and Local Studies at the Rockefeller Institute of Government. From 1993-95, he served as research director for the NYS Constitution Revision Commission; was co-editor with Hank Dullea of the Commission's papers, published as Decision '97 by the Rockefeller Institute (1997); and is co-editor (with Peter Galie and Christopher Bopst) of the forthcoming volume New York's Broken Constitution: The Governance Crisis and the Path to Renewed Greatness (SUNY Press, 2016).

Christopher Bopst is chief legal and financial officer of Sam-Son Logistics, Inc. in Buffalo; co-author (with Peter Galie) of The New York State Constitution, 2d ed. (Oxford University Press, 2012); and, as earlier stated, is contributor and co-author of New York's Broken Constitution: The Governance Crisis and the Path to Renewed Greatness. Bopst has, additionally, co-authored (with Peter Galie) five articles that have been published in the Albany Law Review about the New York Constitution or New York constitutional history and has been involved in efforts to educate high school students statewide about the state Constitution.

Richard Brodsky is a senior fellow at Demos and NYU Wagner. He previously served 14 terms in the New York State Assembly where he chaired the Committee on Environmental Conservation and the Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions. During his tenure, Assemblyman Brodsky was active in numerous constitutional reform issues and authored an amendment to the New York State Constitution.

Peter Galie is professor emeritus of political science at Canisius College in Buffalo. He is the recipient of a John R. Oishei Foundation Three Year Teaching Professorship, "Rewriting the New York State Constitution," (1999-2002); authored Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York (Fordham University Press, 1995); and co-authored the previously mentioned The New York Constitution 2nd ed. and the upcoming New York's Broken Constitution: The Governance Crisis and the Path to Renewed Greatness.

Henry M. Greenberg is a shareholder with the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP and chairs the New York State Bar Association's Committee on the New York State Constitution. Among the public sector posts he has held, Greenberg served as counsel to the New York State attorney general; general counsel for the New York State Department of Health; assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York; and law clerk to then-Judge (later Chief Judge) Judith S. Kaye of the New York State Court of Appeals.

The event is sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of the State University of New York, New York State Bar Association, Government Law Center of Albany Law School, state League of Women Voters, Siena Research Institute and New York News Publishers Association.

The Boot Camp will be available as a live webcast (link available upon registration). Those watching the webcast will be able to submit questions by email.

Questions: Robert Bullock, Rockefeller Institute, (518) 443-5837,; or Lise Bang-Jensen, New York State Bar Association, (518) 487-5530,

Reservations: Bridget Donlon at (518) 489-5531,; or Michele Charbonneau at (518) 443-5258 or

Please note that because of space and webcast limitations, the "live" Boot Camp is intended primarily for journalists. The webcast later will be posted on the Internet, allowing journalists and the public to access segments as source material in the future.

In a recent Siena Research Institute poll, 69 percent of those polled indicated support for a constitutional convention, while those polled overwhelmingly indicated being unaware of the upcoming date. Be prepared as the vote looms.



Reporters, editors, columnists, producers, editorial writers.


This Boot Camp will provide journalists will background for ongoing coverage of a possible Constitutional Convention.

WHEN: Monday December 07, 2015 at 10:00AM Eastern Time (US & Canada)
WHERE: New York State Bar Association
One Elk Street
Albany, New York 12207

The Boot Camp also be webcast live. For a link, contact Bridget Donlon at