Georgia voters have the opportunity to vote on five amendments to the state constitution in this year’s election.
About Each Amendment
Amendment One would give the state permission to allocate a portion of revenue from outdoor recreation equipment to be used for land conservation.
“Up to 80 percent” of the sales tax can be dedicated to support state parks, secure land for wildlife, hunting, fishing and protecting clean water.
Opponents of the conservation amendment think this money can better spent on education and infrastructure. Others argue it does not go far enough to ensure the money is used for conservation.
If Amendment Two passes, the state would create a “statewide business court.” The governor would appoint the judges.
The business court would handle complex business cases to try settle disputes as fast as possible.
Amendment Three revises a law already in place. It would change the taxation of forest land dedicated to conservation and the current method of determining the value of that land.
This bill is supported by the Georgia Forestry Commission, as well as Gov. Nathan Deal.
Amendment Four, known as Marsy’s Law, would address the rights of crime victims. They would have the right to know about any proceedings involving an alleged criminal. They would also have the right to know of any arrest, release or escape of the accused person. Victims would have the right to speak at any court proceedings about the release, plea or even sentencing of a defendant.
Critics of this amendment feel that allowing victims to speak at early proceedings could infringe on the accused’s right of innocent until proven guilty.
Victims’ rights groups feel that passing this amendment will give victims a voice and the right to be heard.
Amendment Five is the School Sales Tax Referendum Amendment.
A school that has a majority of a given county’s students could call for a referendum. County residents could vote to have a 1 percent sales and use tax collected for a five-year period.
This money would be used for educational purposes. It would be shared by all of the public schools in that county.
Grady Newsource will have the outcomes of these five amendments after Election Day, Nov. 6.
Maddie Ray is a senior majoring in journalism.