By Paula Walter
October 6th was the last day for people to register to vote in person at Johnson County Election Commission office for the upcoming general election on November 4, 2014. Early voting for both state and federal general elections runs from October 15th, 2014 through October 30, 2014. Those vying for votes this year are candidates for Tennessee state representatives, Tennessee governor and lieutenant governor, attorney general and those running for United States House of Representatives and United States Senate.
This year there are four ballot measures in Tennessee. Each of them would change Tennessee state constitutional amendments and include proposed changes for abortion, the state judiciary, taxes and gambling. The changes are worded in such a way that the current wordage would be replaced with the new language, should it pass. According to Johnson County Election Commissioner, Mike Long, representatives at the polls will not be able to explain the proposed changes to the amendments. They will need to respond to questions about the amendment with the ballot speaks for itself.
In order for a constitutional amendment in Tennessee to pass, it must receive a majority of the votes of those voting on the amendment, as well as a majority of Tennesseans voting for governor.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment Number One for the November 4, 2014 General Election Ballot reads as follows: Shall Article I, of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section: Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.
This amendment, if passed, would allow Tennessee legislature to change or repeal current state statutes regarding abortion, including pregnancy that was a result of incest or rape or poses to be life threatening to the life of the mother.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment Number Two for the November 4, 2014 General Election Ballot:
Shall Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by deleting the
first and second sentences and by substituting instead the following:
Judges of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court shall be appointed for a full term or to fill a vacancy by and at the discretion of the governor; shall be confirmed by the Legislature; and thereafter, shall be elected in a retention election by the qualified voters of the state. Confirmation by default occurs if the Legislature fails to reject an appointee within sixty calendar days of
either the date of appointment, if made during the annual legislative session, or the convening date of the next annual legislative session, if made out of session. The Legislature is authorized to prescribe such provisions as may be necessary to carry out Sections two and three of this article.
If passed, this change to Amendment Two would allow the governor to appoint judges to the state supreme courts or any other state appellate courts. They must be approved by the general assembly. These judges would serve for eight years. The state legislature would then approve or reject judicial appointments rather than the current nominating committee in place.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment Number Three for the November 4, 2014 General Election Ballot:
Shall Article II, Section 28 of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by adding the following sentence at the end of the final substantive paragraph within the section: Notwithstanding the authority to tax privileges or any other authority set forth in this Constitution, the Legislature shall not levy, authorize or otherwise permit any state or local tax upon payroll or earned personal income or any state or local tax measured by payroll or earned personal income; however, nothing contained herein shall be construed as prohibiting any tax in effect on January 1, 2011, or adjustment of the rate of such tax.
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By Paula Walter