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New York

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New York

A convention acting as the state legislature adopted a constitution on April 20, 1777. Legislative power was vested in an assembly, elected annually by males with £20 freehold, and a senate, whose members served four-year terms and were elected by males with £100 freehold; voters qualified for senate elections also chose the governor, who served for three years. Each year the assembly elected four senators to a council of appointment, on which the governor had the deciding vote. The governor, chancellor, and supreme court judges formed a council of revision, which could veto legislation; a two-thirds majority in both legislative chambers could override the veto. The chancellor and judges of the supreme court held office during good behavior until they retired at age 60. Clergymen were forbidden to hold state office. Liberty of conscience and the right to trial by jury and to counsel in criminal cases were protected, but there was no separate declaration of rights. No provision was made for amending the constitution.