October 24, 2013

In My Opinion: Support for state amendments


---- — As we approach Election Day, I am foregoing my normal letter of support for individual candidates to speak to the voters about the six constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot on Nov. 5.

Some of these amendments are critical, and I urge you to give them your utmost consideration. Using my personal prejudice in support of two of them, I’m going to write on the amendments out of the order in which they will appear on the ballot.

Proposal Five: This proposal has already been supported in editorials in our local newspapers, other elected officials and most environmental groups.

The proposed amendment will allow NYCO Minerals, located in Willsboro, to continue its mining operations in Essex County.

The State will convey about 200 acres of Forest Preserve land to NYCO in exchange for NYCO transferring to the state about 1,500 acres valued at more than $1 million. These acres will become Forest Preserve property.

Once NYCO has finished mining the 200 acres, the company will restore the land, returning it to the Forest Preserve.

This amendment is a North Country issue, which, if passed, will save about 100 jobs in Willsboro. Please vote yes.

Proposal Four: Another North Country proposal, this will settle a 100-year dispute of title to property in the Forest Preserve known as Township Forty in Long Lake, Hamilton County.

Approval of this proposal will allow the legislature to settle the dispute between the state and private parties over ownership of parcels of land. The private owners will convey land to the state, which will be of more benefit to the Forest Preserve than the disputed parcels are. Please vote yes.

Proposal One: Authorizes up to seven casinos in the state.

I voted twice in favor of legislation to put this amendment on the ballot. I agree with many other proponents that the economic benefit of revenue generated by these seven casinos will greatly benefit the taxpayers of the state.

Although there will not be any new casinos in the North Country, I support the passage of this amendment and the additional revenue for our state budget.

Proposal Two: This amendment will grant additional Civil Service credit to veterans who are certified as disabled after they have been appointed or promoted to a Civil Service position.

Under current Civil Service law, all veterans receive additional credit on exams of 5 points for an initial appointment and 2½ points for a promotion. Disabled veterans are given additional credits of 10 points for an original appointment and 5 points for a promotion. Veterans can be granted only one time additional credit.

Many veterans are diagnosed with a disability after they have already used their initial credits. This proposal will allow a veteran to receive the additional credits for an appointment or promotion not to exceed a total 10 credits.

A “yes” vote will support our veterans who have given so much for our country.

Proposal Three: Counties, cities, towns and villages currently exclude from their constitutional debt limits any indebtedness incurred for the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities.

This constitutional authorization expires on Jan. 1, 2014, and passage of this amendment will extend this benefit to local municipalities for 10 years until Jan. 1, 2024.

This can be a good benefit to many municipalities faced with aging sewage facilities that must be replaced or for the construction of new facilities.

Proposal Six: Currently State Supreme justices and judges of the Court of Appeals face mandatory retirement in the year in which they turn 70 years old. This amendment would allow them to serve until the age of 80.

Please take the time to vote on these Constitutional Amendments when you go to the polls this year. If you want further information on any or all of the proposals, it is available on the New York State Board of Elections website.

Again I strongly urge you to vote yes on the two North Country constitutional amendments to save jobs in Essex County and settle a long-time problem in Hamilton County.

Thank you for your consideration.

Janet L. Duprey is assemblywoman for the 115th District, representing the North Country in the New York State Assembly.