What is a Green Amendment?
Green Amendments are self executing provisions added to the bill of rights section of a constitution that recognize and protect the rights of all people. regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or income, including future generations, to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments.
What's Happening in New York?
In 2017, Assemblyman Steve Englebright first proposed bill A6279, New York’s Green Amendment. A parallel provision has been proposed in the NY Senate by Senator David Carlucci. While the bill was solidly supported in the Assembly the Senate fell short. But two years later, in 2019, the bill was repurposed and began to advance.
On April 9, 2019, Green Amendments For the Generations, key New York lawmakers and a coalition of groups announced plans to push for approval of a Green Amendment Bill by the New York legislature. Watch the press conference here.
As of April 30, 2019 the New York legislators, in both the state Assembly and Senate, voted for first passage of a proposed amendment to the NY State Constitution (A2064/S2072) that would recognize and protect the inalienable right to clean water, clean air and a healthful environment. The vote count was overwhelmingly in support of passage with senators voting for passage 45 to 17 and the Assembly members voting 110-34. 90 organizations have signed on to a letter in support of the first passage.
As of February 9, 2021 both the New York State Senate and Assembly voted to add a Green Amendment (A1368/S528) to the state constitution. The NYS Senate voted 48-14 for second passage and the NYS Assembly voted 124-25 for second passage. The bill will be placed on the New York state ballot for the people to vote upon in November.
While for years there have been provisions discussing various environmental issues in Article XIV, the provisions do not have the high level strength needed to recognize the inherent and indefeasible rights of people to a healthy environment and to provide those rights the same level of protection given to the right to free speech, to freedom of religion and other fundamental rights the people of New York hold dear. But New York is poised to remedy that with its Green Amendment proposal.
View the list of New York Sponsors
The proposed bill reads as follows in Art. I of the New York Constitution:
Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.