The governor has a duty to enforce state laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the New York State Legislature, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of treason and impeachment.[A] Unlike the other government departments that compose the executive branch of government, the governor is the head of the state Executive Department. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy style of His/Her Excellency while in office.
The governor of New York is often considered a potential candidate for President. Ten governors have been major-party candidates for president, and four, Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelthave won. Six New York governors have gone on to serve as vice president. Additionally two Governors of New York, John Jay and Charles Evans Hughes, have served as Chief Justice of the United States.
Under the New York State Constitution, a person must be at least 30 years of age, a United States citizen, and a resident of the state of New York for at least five years prior to being elected to serve as governor.
The office of Governor was established by the first New York State Constitution in 1777 to coincide with the calendar year.[F] An 1874 amendment extended the term of office to three years,[G] but the 1894 constitution reduced it to two years.[H] The most recent constitution of 1938 extended the term to the current four years.[I]
Line of succession
The Constitution of New York has provided since 1777 for the election of a Lieutenant Governor of New York, who also acts as President of the State Senate, to the same term (keeping the same term lengths as the governor throughout all the constitutional revisions).[J] Originally, in the event of the death, resignation or impeachment of the governor, or absence from the state, the lieutenant governor would take on the governor’s duties and powers.[J] Since the 1938 constitution, the lieutenant governor explicitly becomes governor upon such vacancy in the office.[K]
Should the office of lieutenant governor become vacant, the president pro tempore of the state senate performs the duties of a lieutenant governor until the governor can take back the duties of the office, or the next election; likewise, should both offices become vacant, the president pro tempore acts as governor, with the office of lieutenant governor remaining vacant. Although no provision exists in the constitution for it, precedent set in 2009 allows the governor to appoint a lieutenant governor should a vacancy occur. Should the president pro tempore be unable to fulfill the duties, the speaker of the assembly is next in the line of succession.[L] The lieutenant governor is elected on the same ticket as the governor, but nominated separately.[M]
Line of succession in full