Meanwhile, thousands of bills are introduced into the New York State Legislature every year. Why aren’t they addressing the issues most New Yorkers have called the most important for more than 20 years? It doesn’t seem to make sense, especially when more voters than not think the state is on the wrong track (47-37%).
Most legislative changes made in New York and around the nation are done through representative democracy – in which voters select representatives, who then are charged with passing laws. However, in nearly half of US states, there are forms of Direct Democracy available through initiative and referendum.
The initiative process would allow voters in New York to bypass the state legislature and place proposed legislation directly on the ballot for approval. Similarly, referendum would allow voters to approve or repeal an act of the legislature. Dozens of states have some form of these popular direct democracy processes in place. Interestingly, in New York State, many actions untaken by local and town governments can be made subject to a permissive referendum, so clearly the process can work effectively.