Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

New York Research In-Depth

This guide explains the process of making laws and regulations in the state of New York.

New York Constitution

New York's first Constitution was drafted soon after New York's Fourth Provincial Congress declared New York independent of Great Britain in 1776. It was adopted on April 20, 1777. New York's present constitution is the Constitution of 1894 as amended. It consists of twenty articles numbered using Roman numerals.

Article XIX of the Constitution provides for two methods of amending the Constitution: a proposal by the legislature, or a proposal by a constitutional convention. Both methods require approval by the voters. Proposed amendments (Legislative Method) carry bill numbers and can be located using bill-locating tools. Amendments that have received first or second approval in the legislature (Legislative Method) and proposed amendments (Constitutional Convention Method) are printed in publications where session laws are printed. The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York keeps a list of "Votes Cast For and Against Proposed Constitutional Conventions and Also Proposed Constitutional Amendments" (1821-1987).

For a section-by-section legislative intent analysis of the Constitution, consult The New York State Constitution: A Reference Guide. This reference guide also includes an essay on "The Constitutional History of New York" and a bibliographical essay on the Constitution and its various amendments.

Where to Find Constitutional Amendments (Legislative Method)

Where to Find Constitutional Amendments (Constitutional Convention)