The first constitution of 1777 was replaced by new ones in 1822, 1846, and 1894. There have been nine constitutional conventions, the last one held in 1967. Its proposals were overwhelmingly defeated by the voters. However, the voters have accepted many of the amendments submitted to them after passage by two consecutive sessions of the legislature.
The executive branch of the government is headed by the governor, who is elected for a four-year term. Also elected for four years are the lieutenant governor, the comptroller, and the attorney general. The governor appoints officials, some with and some without the approval of the senate. The governor is also chief of the state militia and is responsible for delivering an annual state of the state address to the people.
The state legislature has a senate and an assembly; all state legislators are elected for two-year terms. The most important legislative leader in the senate is the temporary president. The chief officer in the assembly is the speaker. The legislature convenes each year in January.
At the lowest level are justices of the peace, village magistrates, police justices, and magistrates’ courts that have jurisdiction over minor civil and criminal cases. Above these are the country courts: the surrogate’s, county, family, city, and district courts. New York City has its own civil court, like county courts elsewhere, and a special criminal court.
New York City has its own civil court, like county courts elsewhere, and a special criminal court. Voters in 12 judicial districts elect the supreme court justices, who have charge of most criminal and civil cases. The state supreme court has an appellate division. There is a separate court of claims that handles cases involving claims brought against the state. New York’s highest court is the court of appeals. There are 57 counties in New York plus the 5 counties that compose New York City that no longer have functioning county governments. The 57 counties are governed by boards composed of town and city supervisors or by elected legislatures. Counties with legislatures may also have an elected executive. Most towns with more than 10,000 people are governed by a town board consisting of a supervisor and several council members. "New York" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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