From the NY Times:
Those calling for a convention say it would be an opportunity to wipe clean Albany’s greasy political slate. Some conservative backers hope to create a process for citizen-initiated referendums in New York, similar to that of California and other states, that would provide a permanent check on new taxes. Liberal proponents have other priorities, like new constitutional guarantees of health care or abortion rights.
Others would go even further: Rick A. Lazio, the former congressman, has called for using a convention to abolish the State Senate entirely, leaving New York with a unicameral Legislature.
“There are real political reform issues that ought to be decided, and a convention could do that,” said Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a Westchester Democrat and a longtime advocate of a convention.
Including a convention held in 1777, when delegates gathered in White Plains to write the first draft of the New York Constitution, New York has had nine conventions. Some produced what are now hallowed features of New York’s social contract, from the 40-hour workweek to Article XIV, the so-called forever wild provision that limits development in the Adirondacks.
But voters have been less open to change in recent decades. The last convention, held in 1967, ended with a whimper: When several proposed changes to the constitution were later submitted for voter approval, as required by law, each was defeated.
In 1997, voters rejected having a convention at all, urged on by a strange-bedfellows coalition of environmentalists, labor unions, and conservative activists. Those opponents were joined by the leaders of the Senate and Assembly, who wield enormous clout in Albany under the existing rules.