New York residents are subject to New York state and U.S. federal laws. Federal laws apply in New York as they do across all 50 states. In addition to the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the U.S., federal laws include statutes that are periodically codified in the U.S. Code. Federal laws also include decisions by courts that interpret federal laws. Finally, federal laws include regulations issued by federal administrative agencies to implement federal laws. You can explore federal laws and related resources by visiting the federal law section of the Justia site.
The state of New York also has its own state laws. New York state laws include the New York Constitution, laws passed by the New York legislature and periodically codified in the New York Consolidated Laws, and decisions by courts that interpret New York laws.
The fifth and current version of the New York Constitution was adopted in 1938 and contains 20 articles. Under Article XIX, the Constitution may be amended through either legislative referral or a constitutional convention. Amendments that originate from the legislature are referred to the New York Attorney General for an opinion on their suitability. Each chamber of the legislature must approve an amendment by a majority vote, and then approve it again in the session after the next general election, before it appears on a ballot. Section 2 of Article XIX provides that a proposal for a constitutional convention must appear on a ballot at 20-year intervals, and the legislature also may place this proposal on a ballot.
The New York Consolidated Laws contain the laws passed by the New York legislature. These laws and the provisions of the New York Constitution are often interpreted by the New York Court of Appeals, which is the highest court in the state, and by the four Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court, which are the intermediate appellate courts in the state. Four federal district courts in New York also issue decisions that may affect New York residents. These are the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western District Courts of New York. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals holds the authority to review decisions by federal district courts in New York. Sometimes the U.S. Supreme Court may review a case that has been appealed from the Second Circuit or from the New York Court of Appeals.