Our opinion: Our take on the amendments

Published 11:00 am Monday, November 7, 2016

There are four constitutional amendments on the ballot and the wording of some is misleading to voters, in our opinion. We have strong feelings about two and are in support of two.
We support Amendments 2 and 4 for the following reasons.
Amendment 2 provides for additional penalities for those convicted of sex crimes. The revenue would go to fund the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund to pay for care and social services for those who have been or may be sexually exploited. How can anyone disagree with this amendment? It further punishes the guilty and helps the innocent!
Amendment 4 will dedicate revenue from existing taxes on fireworks to trauma care (including burn victims), fire services, and public safety. Here again, who could possibly vote no? It’s a not a new tax, and our trauma care and public safety services are already short on funding, and we all need them!
We are definitely against the passage of Amendments 1 and 3.
Amendment 1, even with its benign wording, provides for the transfer of public money into the hands of a select few to make our public schools into charter schools. Instead of adequately funding public education in our state, the government proposes turning our “failing” schools, most of which are in low-income and economically depressed areas, over to people appointed by the Governor who will answer to no one except the Governor. Bad idea. We believe in leaving the governance of local school systems to local boards of education, which are elected by the local people. Period.
Amendment 3 is much like Amendment 1 in that it proposes to give more power to government and less power to citizens.
The Judicial Qualification Commission, a watchdog of judges in Georgia for over 40 years, consists of members appointed by the Governor, the state’s Supreme Court, and the State Bar Association. The amendment would kick out the bar’s input, replacing it with appointments made by the lieutenant governor and the Speaker of the House. We believe this change would destroy the purpose of the JQC, and be tainted by politics. Let’s keep the JQC on an even playing field with its members. Less government is better government.
Please go to the polls on Tuesday and vote your conscience. But please consider voting no to amendments 1 and 3. These two are not in the best interests of the public.