Government of New York
The Government of New York is the governmental structure of the state of New York as established by the New York State Constitution. It is composed of three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The head of the executive is the Governor, the Legislature consists of the Senate and the Assembly, and the judicial branch consists of the Court of Appeals and lower courts.
The New York State Legislature is bicameral and consists of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly. The Assembly consists of 150 members; the Senate varies in its number of members, but currently has 63. The Assembly is headed by the Speaker; the Senate is headed by the President, a post held ex officio by the Lieutenant Governor, who only has a tie-breaking "casting vote", but more often it is presided over by the Temporary President or by a senator of the Majority Leader's choosing.
The Legislature is empowered to make laws, subject to the Governor's power to veto a bill. However, the veto may be overridden by the Legislature if there is a two-thirds majority in favor of overriding in each House. Furthermore, it has the power to propose amendments to the New York Constitution by a majority vote and then another majority vote following an election. If so proposed, the amendment becomes valid if agreed to by the voters at a referendum. The session laws are published in the official Laws of New York. The permanent laws of a general nature are codified in the Consolidated Laws of New York.
The Governor is the head of the executive, and is assisted by the Lieutenant Governor. Both are elected on the same ticket. Additional elected officers include the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Comptroller.
There are several executive departments:
- Department of Agriculture and Markets
- Department of Civil Service
- Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
- Department of Education
- Department of Environmental Conservation
- Department of the Executive
- Department of Financial Services
- Department of Health
- Department of Labor
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Department of Public Service
- Department of State
- Department of Taxation and Finance
- Department of Transportation
Many of New York's public services are carried out by New York state public-benefit corporations, frequently known as authorities or development corporations. The most famous examples are probably the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees New York City's subway and suburban commuter transportation, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (actually a bi-state agency).
The New York State Unified Court System interprets and applies the law of New York, ensures equal justice under law, and provides a mechanism for dispute resolution. The court system in New York tends to produce mild confusion for outsiders. In general, the judicial system is composed of the trial courts, consisting of the superior courts and the inferior courts, and the appellate courts.
The appellate courts are the:
- Court of Appeals
- Appellate Division of the Supreme Court
- Appellate Terms of the Supreme Court
- Appellate Sessions of the county courts
The superior courts are the:
And the inferior courts are the local courts:
The highest court of appeal is the Court of Appeals (instead of the "Supreme Court") whereas the primary felony trial courts are the Supreme Court and the county courts (outside of New York City). The Supreme Court also acts as the intermediate appellate court for many cases, and the local courts handle a variety of other matters including small claims, traffic ticket cases and local zoning matters, and are the starting point for all criminal cases. The New York City Courts make up the largest local court system.
The counties of New York, outside New York City, all have towns with municipal governments of their own. These towns can also contain villages. Those living outside of cities and Indian reservations in New York State automatically live inside towns. Both towns and villages are incorporated municipalities. The Constitution of New York enumerates the powers of local governments, such as the power to elect a legislative body and adopt local laws, and eminent domain.
In 1898, when New York City was consolidated into its present form, all previous town and county governments within it were abolished in favor of the present five boroughs and unified, centralized city government (the Government of New York City).
- McKinley, Jesse (24 February 2014). "What Is a Majority Vote in the State Senate? The Answer Goes Beyond Simple Math". The New York Times.
- Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 30.
- Gibson & Manz 2004, pp. 47–48.
- Gibson & Manz 2004, pp. 56–57.
- Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 218.
- Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 123.
- "Local Government Handbook" (PDF) (5th ed.). New York State Department of State. 2008. pp. PDF page 66. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
- Gibson & Manz 2004, pp. 257–258.
- "Detailed Census Bureau map of New York". 2000. pp. "p. 4; Note the towns of Champlain (Clinton County), Chateaugay (Franklin County), and Bellmont (Franklin County)". Retrieved 2009-06-13.
- Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 258.
- "Local Government Handbook - Town Government" (PDF). New York State Department of State. 2008. pp. 63–70. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- "Local Government Handbook - Local Government Home Rule Power" (PDF) (5th ed.). New York State Department of State. 2008. pp. PDF page 35. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
- Gibson & Manz 2004, p. 257.
- "Local Government Handbook - New York City" (PDF) (5th ed.). New York State Department of State. 2008. pp. PDF pages 60–62. Retrieved 2009-06-22.