Schenectady County Action and Advocacy

Schenectady County Action and Advocacy

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Green Amendment to State's Constitution | Education Lesson Plans for High School Seniors | Local Action for Promoting Democracy

Legislators, Advocates Call for Green Amendment in State's Constitution

Environmental Advocates of New York, legislative leaders, and advocates, called for an amendment to the State Constitution that would guarantee New Yorkers a right to clean air and water. Comprised of 15 words, this `Green Amendment' would amend Article 1 of the State Constitution to include: "Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment."

Additionally, 90 advocate groups have called on the state Legislature to support the bill. A letter in support released today states that the amendment, "will drive better government decision-making at all levels of government and will prevent situations or conditions in which water becomes too polluted, air too dirty, land too contaminated, and natural landscapes too decimated to support healthy lives, including a healthy economy."

Forty-three states have some form of expression of environmental values in their Constitutions; but only Montana and Pennsylvania have recognized protecting environmental rights as an inalienable right, putting environmental rights on par with other political and civil liberties. In a 2016 report, the New York State Bar Association noted that "several other states, such as Pennsylvania, and 174 nations, have adopted and implemented constitutional `environmental rights,'" adding that Article 14 of the New York State Constitution, the Forever Wild clause, does not include such protections.

Excerpt from Environmental Advocates of New York

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Education Lesson Plans for High School Seniors

The League and the NYS Social Studies Supervisory Association (NYS4A) are pleased to announce the publication of 7 lesson plans for teachers of the New York Grade 12 Participation in Government course. The 7 lesson plans are designed to provide teachers and students with information specific to New York State. Lessons can be customized to meet the needs of individual classrooms or student interests and are designed to be inquiry-based and nonpartisan.

Local Action For Promoting Democracy

The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue or advocates for a cause when there is an existing League position that supports the issue or speaks to the cause.

Positions result from a process of study. Any given study, whether it be National, State, or Local, is thorough in its pursuit of facts and details. As the study progresses, a continuing discussion of pros and cons of each situation occurs. Prior to the results of the study being presented to the general membership, study committee members fashion consensus questions that are then addressed by the membership.

Additional discussion, pro and con, takes place as members (not part of the study committee) learn the scope of the study. After the members reach consensus, the board forms positions based on that consensus.

It is the consensus statement -- the statement resulting from the consensus questions -- that becomes a position. Firm action or advocacy can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action/advocacy cannot be taken.

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