Election Day 2017: Are You Ready to Vote?
On November 7th, we have a few local elections that everyone should be participating in. Local elections, while not getting much attention as state and federal elections, tend to have a larger bearing on everyone’s day to day lives. They make decisions on police, firemen, infrastructure, and some of the utilities that we use every day. However there are three other major proposals on the ballot in New York State that everyone should be aware of and educated on.
- Proposal 1: Calls for a “Constitutional Convention” to explore proposals for changes to the state constitution. Every 20 years New York State has the opportunity to vote on making changes to the state constitution through a convention. This process starts with the voting public voting on the proposal. If it is voted “yes, delegates would be elected in 2018 and the convention would be held in 2019. Once the delegates decide on changes, voters would decide whether to approve the changes or not. The last constitutional convention was held back in 1967 and the last time it was on the ballot it was voted down. This proposal is the most highly contested of all three, with all sides involved very weary on the potential outcomes of a constitutional convention.
- Proposal 2: Allows judges to reduce or revoke the state pension of public officers convicted of a felony related to his or her duties. This was suggested as a response to all the recent elected officials being charged, and some convicted, of abusing the power of their position (Sheldon Silver, Dean Skelos, etc…). Judges would consider the severity of the crime in determining whether to reduce or revoke the officer’s public pension. They would also consider whether pension forfeiture would create undue hardship for the convicted officer’s spouse, children, and other dependents. The measure would define public officers as elected officials, governor-appointed officials, municipal administrators and managers, heads of government departments, boards, and commissions, state and local chief fiscal officers and treasurers, judges and justices of the unified court system, and employees of the state designated as policymakers.
- Proposal 3: Would create a 250-acre land bank, which would allow local governments to request forest preservation land for projects in exchange for the state acquiring 250 acres for the forest preserves. This proposal would not directly affect us here in the Southern Tier, but still needs a statewide referendum in order to be approved. Municipalities requesting use of this land would have to show they are using it to address bridge and road hazards, water wells to meet drinking water standards, and stabilizing public utility lines. This initially could not be used for direct business or economic development proposal.