Posted on February 3, 2015 at 5:15 pm byCasey Seiler, Capitol bureau chief inTales of Actual Legislation, Upstate America
Remember: It’s actual legislation. (Mike Groll, AP)
“We are one!” has been Gov. Andrew Cuomo’sclarion call in several recent speeches — a phrase that evokes the image of New York State as a family that pulls together for the good of all.
But what if we were two? What if we became, in effect, the product of a broken home?
That domestic question is at the heart of a piece of actual legislation submitted by Republican Sen. Joe Robach and Assemblyman Steve Hawley, both from Western New York.
The bill, introduced Jan. 29, has a simple intent:
There shall be submitted to the voters of the state at a general election held on or before December 31, 2016 the following question: “Do you support the division of New York into two separate states?”
The legislation raises a few questions besides the one it would place on the ballot:Do you really need the word “separate” in there? We sort of figured out how the operation would work from the use of “division” and “two.”What would these two separate states look like? Would the border be drawn at the northern end of Yonkers or north-south through Amsterdam? Would one state be the People’s Republic of the Artist Formerly Known as Erie County? Failing to offer some sense of where the state would be bisected is tantamount to asking someone if they’d like a new car without specifying if the vehicle is a Porsche or a Yugo.Should the ballot box be used for what’s essentially a survey question? We like to reserve the process of voting for things that actually have an effect in the real world — electing a lawmaker, authorizing a bond issue, amending the state constitution and whatnot. This question wouldn’t do bupkis.
The legislation is one that has been kicking around for several years — a zombie bill, in the parlance of Rick Karlin.