N.Y. Municipal Home Rule Law Section 34
Limitations and restrictions


1.

The legislature hereby imposes the following limitations on the powers of counties to prepare, adopt and amend county charters and charter laws.

2.

Except in accordance with or consistent with laws enacted by the legislature, a county charter or charter law shall not contain provisions relating to:

a.

Taxation of the property of the state or of any of its agencies;

b.

Exemptions from taxation;

c.

Assistance by the state to any unit of local government;

d.

The division of the county into two or more counties or the creation, enlargement, diminution or abolition of any city, town, village or school district;

e.

The compensation of members of the judiciary fixed by the legislature;

f.

The composition, functions, powers, duties or jurisdiction of a court or of the officers thereof, except that functions, powers or duties assigned to units of local government or agencies or officers thereof outside the judicial system may be transferred to other units of local government, agencies or officers as authorized by this article.

3.

Except in accordance with provisions of this chapter or with other laws enacted by the legislature, a county charter or charter law shall not supersede any general or special law enacted by the legislature:

a.

Which relates to the imposition, judicial review or distribution of the proceeds of taxes or benefit assessments;

b.

Insofar as it relates to the educational system in the county or to school districts therein, except that functions, powers or duties assigned to units of local government or to agencies or officers thereof outside the educational system may be transferred to other units of local government, agencies or officers as authorized by this article;

c.

Which requires that specified functions of government be performed by or financed by units of local government, except that any of such functions may be transferred to other units of local government, agencies or officers as authorized by this article;

d.

Insofar as it relates to a function, power or duty of the state or of any officer or agency thereof which is financed directly by the state;

e.

Insofar as it relates to the commencement or prosecution of actions or proceedings against the county;

f.

Insofar as it relates to a public benefit corporation; * g. In this chapter or in the civil service law, eminent domain procedure law, environmental conservation law, election law, executive law, judiciary law, labor law, local finance law, multiple dwelling law, multiple residence law, public authorities law, public housing law, public service law, railroad law, retirement and social security law, state finance law, volunteer firefighters’ benefit law, volunteer ambulance workers’ benefit law, or workers’ compensation law. * NB Effective until January 1, 2025 * g. In this chapter or in the civil service law, eminent domain procedure law, environmental conservation law, election law, executive law, judiciary law, labor law, local finance law, multiple dwelling law, multiple residence law, public authorities law, public housing law, public service law, railroad law, retirement and social security law, state finance law, volunteer firefighters’ benefit law, volunteer ambulance workers’ benefit law, or workers’ compensation law; and * NB Effective January 1, 2025 * h. Insofar as it relates to requirements for counties, other than counties in the city of New York, to hold elections in even-numbered years for any position of a county elected official, other than the office of sheriff, county clerk, district attorney, family court judge, county court judge, surrogate court judge, or any county offices with a three-year term prior to January first, two thousand twenty-five. * NB Effective January 1, 2025 4. Notwithstanding any local law to the contrary, any plan of districting or redistricting adopted pursuant to a county charter or charter law relating to the division of any county, except a county wholly contained within a city, into districts for the purpose of the apportionment or reapportionment of members of its local legislative body shall be subject to federal and state constitutional requirements and shall comply with the following standards, which shall have priority in the order herein set forth, to the extent applicable:

a.

If such plan of districting or redistricting includes only single-member districts, such districts shall be as nearly equal in population as is practicable; the difference in population between the most and least populous district shall not exceed five percent of the mean population of all districts. If such plan of districting or redistricting includes multi-member districts, the plan shall provide substantially equal weight for the population of that county in the allocation of representation in the legislative body of that county; and

b.

Districts shall not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minority groups to participate in the political process or to diminish their ability to elect representatives of their choice; and

c.

Districts shall consist of contiguous territory; and

d.

Districts shall be as compact in form as practicable; and

e.

Districts shall not be drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other particular candidates or political parties. The maintenance of cores of existing districts, of pre-existing political subdivisions including cities, villages, and towns, and of communities of interest shall also be considered. To the extent practicable, no villages, cities or towns except those having more than forty percent of a full ratio for each district shall be divided; and

f.

Districts shall be formed so as to promote the orderly and efficient administration of elections.

5.

After the adoption of a county charter by a county, no law enacted by the legislature pursuant to paragraph two of subdivision (h) of section one of article nine of the constitution which does not apply alike to all counties outside the city of New York, and no charter law or local law, which in its application to such county abolishes or creates an elective county office, changes the voting or veto power of or the method of removing an elective county officer during his term of office, abolishes, curtails or transfers to another county officer or agency any power of an elective county officer, or changes the form or composition of the board of supervisors of such county, shall become effective in such county until at least sixty days after its final enactment. If (a) the legislature in enacting such a law shall provide that it shall be submitted to the qualified electors of the county for their approval, or

(b)

the board of supervisors on its own motion, in the manner provided by subdivision four of County Law § 101 (Permissive referendum)section one hundred one of the county law, shall provide that such a charter law or local law adopted by it shall be submitted to the qualified electors of the county for their approval, or

(c)

within such sixty days electors of the county, duly registered to vote therein either for the last preceding or the next following general election, in number equal to at least five per centum of the total number of votes cast in the county for governor at the last gubernatorial election, shall file a petition with the county clerk or corresponding officer of the county protesting against such law, charter law or local law, it shall become effective in such county only if approved by the electors thereof at the next ensuing general election held at least sixty days thereafter, subject to the conditions provided in subdivision seven of § 33 (Power to adopt, amend and repeal county charters)section thirty-three of this chapter for the adoption of a county charter when voted on by the electors of a county.

Source: Section 34 — Limitations and restrictions, https://www.­nysenate.­gov/legislation/laws/MHR/34 (updated Dec. 29, 2023; accessed Jun. 15, 2024).

Accessed:
Jun. 15, 2024

Last modified:
Dec. 29, 2023

§ 34’s source at nysenate​.gov

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