While California is looking to create a number of new states, New York has a completely different plan. They are not looking to fight with Congress about which parts of the state will receive separate representation. Instead, they are going to be offering up a proposal that will strip their state capital (Albany) of much of its relevancy.
If the proposal comes to fruition, Andrew Cuomo would be reduced to a mere figurehead. That’s probably great news to the average New York resident. Divide NYS Caucus Inc. chair John Bergener Jr. says the plan is designed to strip the currently centralized state government of up to 90 percent of its power. This amendment is based around the age old idea of splitting up the downstate and upstate portions of New York.
Three new regions would be created: The New Amsterdam Region (upstate); the New York Region (New York City) and the Montauk Region (Long Island and Rockland/Westchester). Each region would have their own regional Assembly and regional Senate. According to Bergener Jr., the process of splitting the state into smaller one is preferable but far more challenging.
If autonomous regions are created, Washington can be bypassed. The state’s constitution will also need to be amended. The amendment in question has to pass twice in each house of the state Legislature. Once the amendment has passed for a second time, a referendum is triggered for all of the state voters.
Local regions in this state have been chasing this sort of proposal for a long time now. They want to have more control over their policies and resources, which makes a great deal of sense. This was the model for American engagement in the 20th century. Localities used to be given the chance to handle their own issues, without relying on the intervention of their state’s government.
The federal government’s power also remained limited in these instances. Deciding which authorities and jurisdictions would be turned over to local authorities would be a tough call but that would become an ongoing process. The initiative stands a better chance if the new regions are not defined as their own states. Congressional approval would have to be given and we all know that would never happen.
The new structure would merely have to abide by the Constitution and that’s about it. New York voters would be the only voters who would be required to weigh in on the matter. This model is actually pretty smart and California should take a closer look at it. While the political climate there is probably not diverse enough for such an idea to make it through, New York does not have that problem.
Their plan stands a decent chance of making its way through the legislative process. California’s state legislature, on the other hand? Their Democratic super majority would drive all power away from the state’s capital, Sacramento. Voters are given direct access to the ballot once they have collected all of the necessary signatures. Many of these signatures would have to come from non Los Angeles and San Francisco residents.
These sizable cities are the power bases that other California residents would like to strip power from. The proposal is likely to gain a lot of steam from those who are tired of feeling like the major cities make all of their decisions for them. After all, this is a common refrain from upstate New York residents as well.
In each case, the referendum would not be able to pass until it was put to a state wide vote. We are going to go out on a huge limb and say that this will not happen anytime soon. Voters in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco have very little incentive to go along with a plan that strips them of the influence that they have been enjoying for decades now. Meanwhile, New York state residents are probably on board with any plan that would reduce the amount of power Cuomo has.