The other New York state ballot proposals

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Credit: Metro Archive

Proposal one — allowing up to seven casinos in New York state — isn’t the only referendum on the ballot Tuesday. Here’s a look at the other proposals (with help from the city’s Campaign Finance Board):

Proposal Two: Additional civil service credit to disabled veterans certified post-appointment

New York allows military veterans to receive additional credit for civil service exams (5 extra points for an original appointment and 2.5 points for a promotion exam). Those with disabilities receive double this credit, 10 points for an original appointment and 5 for a promotion exam.

Right now, additional credit is applied only once for veterans, so if a veteran is classified as disabled after the exam, he or she doesn’t get any extra credit.

The proposed amendment creates an exception to that rule, allowing veterans who have received credit on their exams already to receive credit once more after their disability is certified. After certification, veterans would receive additional credit on another exam equal to the difference between 10 and what they received for the initial exam or promotion exam. (So if a veteran received 2.5 extra credit during a promotion exam, they would receive 7.5 extra points in a second promotion exam after being certified disabled.)

Pros: The proposal closes a loophole. Veterans fought for this country and deserve more support when they return home. Veterans are also trained extensively, this would encourage more to work in civil service positions.

Cons: Disabled veterans are already compensated in civil service exams.

Proposal Three: Extending exclusion of sewage facilities from constitutional debt limits

Towns and cities in New York are limited by how much debt they can rack up by the state Constitution. Debts from the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities have been exempt from these limits since 1962. The proposal would extend the exemption for another ten years, including debts incurred through 2023.

Pros: Exempting sewage facility construction and reconstruction from the limit would allow cities and towns to maintain high-quality systems and would continue a management practice that’s been in place for over 50 years.

Cons: The proposal allows municipalities to incur debt that might cripple taxpayers and could set a bad precedent.

Proposal Four: Settling disputed property within the Adirondacks

The “forever wild” amendment in the state constitution guarantees no sale, exchange or destruction of forest preserve land. (This amendment was approved, as this year’s proposals must be, by voters through a General Election in 1894.)

For over a century, this has left control of some land in the town of Long Lake, Hamilton County, up in the air — both state and private individuals claim ownership of some property. The “forever wild” amendment prohibits this disputed land from being transferred to a private owner without an amendment to the constitution.

The proposal would amend the constitution to allow the state to transfer more than 200 parcels of land to private owners in exchange for other forest land which would be added to Adirondack Park.

The exchanges would be subject to approval from the Legislature, who would have to determine that the land to be given to the state would benefit the forest preserve more than the disputed property would have.

Pros: The proposal would end a long and heated dispute, saving the state money arguing in the court system.

Cons: The state could put the entire forest preserve at risk by transferring pieces of it to private owners and the Legislature might not be the most suitable judge of what’s best for the preserve.

Proposal Five: Exchanging forest preserve land to NYCO Minerals, Inc.

As with proposal four, number five would amend the “forever wild” article of the constitution to allow for a transfer of state land to a private owner.

This proposal would permit the state to transfer some 200 acres of Adirondack Park in Essex County to a private mining company, NYCO Minerals, in exchange for the same amount and quality of land worth at least $1 million. Like the land in proposal four, this land would be added to the forest preserve.

After mining on the exchanged land, the company would restore its condition and return it to the forest preserve.

In addition, the amendment would allow NYCO Minerals to test the land and quality of minerals to be mined ahead of the exchange. If the company decides against the exchange, it must give the state the same amount and value of land disturbed by testing.

Pros: The exchange might create jobs in the area and is a cheap place for the company to mine. The size of Adirondack Park would increase in the long term.

Cons: This would be the first time the state swapped parts of Adirondack Park to be used for private commercial gain and the mined lands cannot be returned in the exact same condition. If the company were to go out of business, the mined land might not be returned to the state or it could be returned without rehabilitation. Additionally, the company could mine in other sites outside the park.

Proposal Six: Increasing the age certain state judges can serve

Under the state Constitution, judges in the Court of Appeals serve 14-year terms but must retire at 70 even if their terms aren’t over. The proposal would allow these judges to serve up to an additional 10 years to complete the term to which they were appointed. (For example, a 70-year-old judge with 11 years left in his or her term could serve until they were 80 years old, with one year of their term unserved.)

State Supreme Court judges must also retire at 70, but can serve up to three two-year terms after this age if they’re needed and they are deemed competent to perform duties of the office. The proposed amendment would allow these judges to serve up to five two-year terms after turning 70.

Pros: Life expectancy and medicine has increased since the mandatory retirement ages were set over 140 years ago. This can allow older judges to serve competently longer. The most experienced judges would also be allowed to serve longer.

Cons: Younger judges might bring new and unique perspectives to the courts. The proposal might allow judges who aren’t mentally or physically able to do so serve. The proposal also applies different standards to judges.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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