November 2, 2014

Turn it Over on Tuesday

This year, New Yorkers, you have to remember to #TurnItOver and vote on the three ballot initiatives.

I think it's pretty clear that there's not a lot of rip-roaring support for them in the halls of Albany, given how dry and boring the language is for these three. I mean, they're nothing like the one for casino gambling we had the last time around, which practically came with it's own marching band and parade floats:
The proposed amendment to section 9 of article 1 of the constitution would allow the legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York State for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated. Shall the amendment be approved?
Here are the three initiatives; for detailed information on each, including positions for and against, I encourage you to check out Balletopedia - there's some really good information there.

(1) Revising State's Redistricting Procedure
The proposed amendment to sections 4 and 5 and addition of new section 5-b to Article 3 of the State Constitution revises the redistricting procedures for state legislative and congressional districts. The proposed amendment establishes a redistricting commission every 10 years beginning in 2020, with two members appointed by each of the four legislative leaders and two members selected by the eight legislative appointees; prohibits legislators and other elected officials from serving as commissioners; establishes principles to be used in creating districts; requires the commission to hold public hearings on proposed redistricting plans; subjects the commission's redistricting plan to legislative enactment; provides that the legislature may only amend the redistricting plan according to the established principles if the commission's plan is rejected twice by the legislature; provides for expedited court review of a challenged redistricting plan; and provides for funding and bipartisan staff to work for the commission. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

(2) Permitting Electronic Distribution of State Legislative Bills
The proposed amendment to section 14 of Article 3 of the State Constitution would allow electronic distribution of a state legislative bill to satisfy the constitutional requirement that a bill be printed and on the desks of state legislators at least three days before the Legislature votes on it. It would establish the following requirements for electronic distribution: first, legislators must be able to review the electronically-sent bill at their desks; second, legislators must be able to print the bill if they choose; and third, the bill cannot be changed electronically without leaving a record of the changes.  Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

(3) The SMART SCHOOLS BOND ACT OF 2014 
The SMART SCHOOLS BOND ACT of 2014, as set forth in section one of part B of chapter 56 of the laws of 2014, authorizes the sale of state bonds of up to two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) to provide access to classroom technology and high-speed Internet connectivity to equalize opportunities for children to learn, to add classroom space to expand high-quality pre-kindergarten programs, to replace classroom trailers with permanent instructional space, and to install high-tech smart security features in schools.  Shall the SMART SCHOOLS BOND ACT of 2014 be approved?

The choice is ours. We can only make it if we remember to turn the ballot over.