Georgia voters to vote on four proposed constitutional amendments

ATLANTA — In addition to the presidential race on this year’s ballot, Georgia voters will have the chance to vote on four amendments.

The most-debated proposed change, Amendment 1, would allow the state to take over failing schools. Proponents say the measure would help students, while opponents say there is no guarantee the state could better manage schools.

Amendment 2 would assess a $5,000 fee on adult businesses and also charge an additional $2,500 fine for anyone convicted of exploitation-related crimes; the money would go to a Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund. Supporters say the additional money would benefit victims while some opponents say the measure is a veiled attempt to levy an additional fee on strip clubs.

“Is the adult entertainment industry responsible for this problem?” WRBL-TV quoted state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, as saying. “Should they be taxed for this? Is there a nexus between these businesses and trafficking?”

A third measure, Amendment 3, would allow the state legislature to scrap and rebuild the Judicial Qualifications Commission. Supporters say the body needs more oversight, while opponents say the amendment is a political power grab.

“My expectation is probably two-thirds of people going in to cast their ballot will not even know that it’s on the ballot, and they’ll read down and look at it and say ‘well that sounds logical, a good thing to do,’ and hopefully approve it,” WABE-FM quoted state Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, as saying. “I think it’s true in the past that most things on there as a constitutional amendment – unless it calls for some type of tax increase – people support it.”

Amendment 4 would earmark revenues from an existing 5 percent excise tax on fireworks go toward funding trauma care, firefighter equipping and training and local public safety rather than going into the state’s general fund. Supporters say the measure shores up funding for public safety, while opponents say it limits how the money can be used and doesn’t have a long-term view.

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