Beyond Con Con: 3 statewide ballot proposals

When you are voting Nov. 7, don‘t forget to flip over your ballot. There, you‘ll find three statewide proposals (there may be more; some localities have their own ballot measures).

What are these proposals and what will they do, or not? Here‘s a summary of each, including links to various views — ours and our readers — to help you make your decision.

Proposal 1

This ballot question is the first step in calling for a statewide Constitutional Convention. This issue getting a lot of attention this election season, because it‘s a pretty big deal. The question comes up every 20 years.

Proposal 1 asks if the state should call a Constitutional Convention, referred to by many as a “Con Con.” The convention could seek to make changes to the state‘s Constitution, New York‘s founding and guiding document. But it‘s a long process. If the Nov. 7 proposal passes, voters would choose delegates next November. Then, in April 2019, the convention would be held. Any proposals that the convention votes on would then go to voters on the November 2019 ballot.

It‘s a big decision, and we‘ve heard a lot of feedback. Here are some links to help you decide:

Proposal 2

This proposal is the culmination of a three-part process to change the state‘s Constitution through the amendment process. The proposal would allow judges, after a hearing, to revoke or revise the pension of a “public officer” who had been convicted of felony corruption that‘s related to their professional duties. In other words, those convicted of using their official job or office to do crime could lose their retirement pension.

While most think about misbehaving elected officials as the target of such a law change, others could also be subject to the regulation. That includes officials who are appointed to government positions or are department heads, managers or fiscal officers. Judges who are part of the unified court system could also see pensions cut or clawed back. It applies to those who entered the pension system before November 2011; legislative changes have already addressed more recent elected, appointed or employed officials.

Judges could consider various factors in deciding whether to diminish or erase pensions, including the impact on a spouse or dependents, and the extent of the criminal activity.

Two separate state Legislatures have already passed this legislation. Now voters get a say.

This proposal is pretty popular among the electorate. Here are some views:

Proposal 3

New York‘s Constitution provides for the state Forest Preserve, and mandates that it must be “Forever Wild.” However, this land in the Adirondacks and Catskills region abuts towns and villages, and is situated amid roadways with culverts and bridges. Utility lines and sewer systems run nearby.

What happens when a bridge replacement is needed or a sewer pipe needs to be dug up and replaced? It can be difficult to navigate such work within the protected area. 

Proposal 3 would set up a 250-acre land bank. Municipalities would request use of up to 250 acres for projects like road repairs, water quality projects and other work. The state, meanwhile, would identify 250 new acres that would be included in the forest preserve.

The issue hasn‘t garnered much attention downstate. Here are some views from our area, and from surrounding communities around the Catskills and Adirondacks:

Remember to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 7, and don‘t forget to look for these proposals on the back of your ballot