By Assemblyman Will Barclay
When voters go to the polls on Nov. 5, they will be asked whether to support a number of amendments to the State Constitution.
Recently, I talked about the casino referendum and the implications its passage will have on New York.
This week, I want to let readers know about five other referendums that will appear on the ballot.
All of these passed the State Legislature in order to be put in front of the public for a vote.
Some matters I supported in the Legislature, while others I did not.
Additional Civil Service Credits for Disabled Veterans
Our State Constitution allows veterans to receive additional credits on a civil service exam. This is a one-time credit, according to our constitution. This amendment would enable veterans to receive additional credits if they become disabled. For example, if a veteran was employed as a police officer, decided to return to military service in Afghanistan, and became disabled as a result of his or her service, the employee would be eligible to receive an additional credit as a disabled vet. I supported this in the Legislature and plan to do so at the polls.
Title disputes have a chance to be put to rest if the public supports the amendment to resolve claims between the state and private parties that own land in Hamilton County. This constitutional amendment would allow the Legislature to settle 100-year-old disputes between the state and private parties over land in a state forest reserve. Owners of land in the Forest Preserve would receive clear title to the lands where they live and pay property taxes if this passes. I supported this in the Legislature as well.
Another land exchange amendment would enable NYCO Minerals, Inc., a private company, to continue its mining operations in Essex County. The company currently mines wollastonite, a rare white mineral used in ceramics, paints, plastics and other building products. The Lewis Mine, which NYCO Minerals, Inc. currently uses, produces 60,000 tons of wollastoniate annually—8% of the annual worldwide production. The mine is approaching the end of its life cycle and its closure would mean the loss of nearly 100 full-time workers as well as tax revenue for the local economy.
Debt Limit Exclusion for Sewage Facilities
This amendment would enable municipalities to extend their debt limit for sewage treatment and related facilities until Jan. 1, 2024. I supported this in the Legislature.
Increasing Age Judges Can Serve
Currently, state Supreme Court judges must retire at 76. This amendment would increase the mandatory retirement age to 80. It would also increase the retirement age for judges of the Court of Appeals from 70 to 80. Also, it would prohibit the appointment of any person over the age of 70 to the Court of Appeals. I voted against this bill in the Legislature and plan to do so at the polls.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.