On Election Day, November 5, 2013, there will be six Ballot Proposals on the Statewide Ballots, to amend the New York State Constitution. These Proposals have passed the NYS Legislature and now need the approval of the voters. The New York State Constitution can be amended in two ways:
- Any proposed amendments must be referred to the New York Attorney General, who is required to provide a written opinion as to how the proposed amendment fits in with other provisions of the constitution.
- If both chambers of the legislature (the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly) agree with the proposed amendment by a simple majority vote, the proposed amendment is then referred to "the next regular legislative session convening after the succeeding general election of members of the assembly."
- If that next session of the legislature agrees with the amendment by a simple majority vote of both chambers, "it shall be the duty of the legislature to submit each proposed amendment or amendments to the people for approval in such manner and at such times as the legislature shall prescribe".
- If a general statewide vote approves the amendment by a simple majority vote, it becomes a part of the constitution on the "day of January next after such approval." The New York Constitution can also be amended through the constitutional convention process:
- According to Section 2 of Article XIX, a question as to whether there shall be a convention is to appear on the statewide ballot every 20 years beginning in 1957.
- The New York State Legislature can also refer a question to the ballot about whether to hold a convention.
The Proposals with detailed information can be found at this website:
Proposal One - Authorizing Casino Gaming
The purpose of the proposed amendment to section 9 of article 1 of the Constitution is to allow the Legislature to authorize and regulate up to seven casinos for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated.
Proposal Two – Additional Civil Service Credit for Veterans with Disabilities Certified Post-Appointment
The purpose of the proposed amendment to section 6 of article 5 of the Constitution is to grant additional civil service credit to veterans who are certified as disabled after they have been appointed or promoted to a civil service position.
The State Constitution currently grants veterans additional credit on civil service exams (5 points for an original appointment and 2½ points for a promotion). Disabled veterans are entitled to additional credit (10 points for an original appointment and 5 points for a promotion). Veterans are eligible for only one grant of additional credit, and so a veteran who is appointed or promoted before being certified as disabled currently is not eligible for the higher amount of credit he or she would have received if he or she had been certified as disabled before his or her appointment or promotion.
This amendment would create an exception to the one-time-only additional credit rule. It would permit veterans who are certified disabled after having already received credit at one appointment or promotion, because of their status as veterans, to receive additional credit one more time after certification of their disability. After being certified disabled, a veteran would be entitled to an additional grant of credit equal to the difference between 10 and the number of points received at the initial appointment or promotion. This would bring the total additional points of civil service credit such a veteran can receive to 10 for either an appointment or a promotion.
Proposal Three – Exclusion of Indebtedness Contracted for Sewage Facilities
Abstract: The purpose of the proposed amendment to section 5 of article 8 of the Constitution is to continue to allow counties, cities, towns, and villages to exclude from their constitutional debt limits indebtedness incurred for the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities.
The State Constitution currently provides that indebtedness contracted on or after January 1, 1962 and before January 1, 2014, for the construction or reconstruction of facilities for the conveyance, treatment, and disposal of sewage shall be excluded from the constitutional debt limits of counties, cities, towns, and villages. The effect of the proposed amendment would be to extend for ten years, until January 1, 2024, the period during which sewer debt will be excluded from the constitutional debt limits of counties, cities, towns, and villages.
Proposal Four – Settling Disputed Title in the Forest Preserve
Abstract: The purpose of the proposed amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the Constitution is to resolve competing claims of title between the State and private parties to land located in the forest preserve, in the town of Long Lake, Hamilton County.
The State Constitution generally forbids the lease, sale, exchange, or taking of any forest preserve land. The proposed amendment would allow the Legislature to settle 100-year-old disputes between the State and private parties over ownership of certain parcels of land in the forest preserve by giving up the State's claim to disputed parcels. In exchange, the State would get land to be incorporated into the forest preserve. The land exchange would occur only if the Legislature determines that the land to be conveyed to the State would benefit the forest preserve more than the disputed parcels do.
Proposal Five – In Relation to a Land Exchange in the State Forest Preserve with NYCO Minerals, Inc.
Abstract: The purpose of the proposed amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the Constitution is to allow NYCO Minerals, Inc., a private company, to continue its mining operations in the town of Lewis, Essex County. The State Constitution generally forbids the lease, sale, exchange, or taking of any forest preserve land. The proposed amendment would allow the State to convey approximately 200 forest preserve acres to NYCO Minerals for mining. In exchange, NYCO Minerals would give the State at least the same amount of land of at least the same value, with a minimum assessed value of $1 million. This land would be added to the forest preserve. When NYCO Minerals finishes mining, the company would restore the condition of the land it received in the exchange and return it to the forest preserve.
The proposed amendment also would allow NYCO Minerals to test to determine the quantity and quality of the mineral to be mined on the land to be exchanged before the exchange occurs. It would require NYCO Minerals to give the State its test results so that the State can use them to determine the value of the land to be conveyed to NYCO Minerals. The proposed amendment also would require that if, after testing, NYCO Minerals does not want the forest preserve land, NYCO Minerals still must give the State at least the same amount of land of at least the same value of the land that was disturbed by the testing. This land would be incorporated into the forest preserve.
Proposal Six – Increasing Age until which Certain State Judges Can Serve
Abstract: The purpose of the proposed amendment to sections 2 and 25 of article 6 of the Constitution is to increase to the age of 80 the maximum age until which Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the Court of Appeals may serve in the following circumstances: (a) Justices of the Supreme Court are currently required to retire in the year they turn 70 years old, but are eligible to continue to perform the duties of a Justice of the Supreme Court for three additional two-year terms upon a certificate that their services are needed by the courts and that they are competent to perform the full duties of the office. The proposed amendment would make them eligible for two additional such two-year terms, upon the same certification of need and competence; (b) Judges of the Court of Appeals are currently required to retire in the year they turn 70 years old. The proposed amendment would permit a Judge who reaches the age of 70 while in office to remain in service on the Court for up to 10 additional years in order to complete the term to which that Judge was appointed.