The 4 Amendments: What do They Mean?

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 1 for the November 4, 2014 General Election Ballot

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.”

***Because there is valid concern that the legal language of these amendments may confuse voters, we have asked Baptist minister, constitutional lawyer and renowned author Oliver ‘Buzz’ Thomas to provide his interpretation in laymen’s terms, along with a vote recommendation, he says:

This is the amendment that would strip our state constitution of its own privacy rights independent of the federal constitution. It would also open the door to legislative forays into a woman’s private healthcare decisions. Whatever you think about abortion, you have to question the wisdom of this amendment. RECOMMENDATION: Vote NO.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 2 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.”

***Because there is valid concern that the legal language of these amendments may confuse voters, we have asked Baptist minister, constitutional lawyer and renowned author Oliver ‘Buzz’ Thomas to provide his interpretation in laymen’s terms, along with a vote recommendation, he says:

This amendment would retain Tennessee’s longstanding practice of having the governor appoint members of the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal as opposed to having these judges campaign for their seats in partisan statewide elections. Amendment 2 also continues the current practice of giving voters the chance to retain or retire these judges every 8 years. States such as West Virginia that have switched over to statewide elections for appellate judges have discovered that an influx of large cash contributions into judicial campaigns can corrupt the judicial process. (See Caperton v. Massey Coal) RECOMMENDATION: Vote YES

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3 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.”

***Because there is valid concern that the legal language of these amendments may confuse voters, we have asked Baptist minister, constitutional lawyer and renowned author Oliver ‘Buzz’ Thomas to provide his interpretation in laymen’s terms, along with a vote recommendation, he says:

This amendment would prohibit our legislature from ever considering a state income tax regardless of the circumstances. So, if the legislature ever wished to replace its sales tax with a more progressive income tax, it could not. Again, whatever you think about tax policy, one must question the wisdom of tying a future legislature’s hands in this fashion. RECOMMENDATION: Vote NO

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 4 for the November 4, 2014 General Election Ballot

Shall Article XI, Section 5 of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by deleting the following language:

“All other forms of lottery not authorized herein are expressly prohibited unless authorized by a two-thirds vote of all members elected to each house of the general assembly for an annual event operated for the benefit of a 501(c)(3) organization located in this state, as defined by the 2000 United States Tax Code or as may be amended from time to time.”

and by substituting instead the following language:

“All other forms of lottery not authorized herein are expressly prohibited unless authorized by a two-thirds vote of all members elected to each house of the general assembly for an annual event operated for the benefit of a 501(c)(3) or a 501(c)(19) organization, as defined by the 2000 United States Tax Code, located in this state.”

***Because there is valid concern that the legal language of these amendments may confuse voters, we have asked Baptist minister, constitutional lawyer and renowned author Oliver ‘Buzz’ Thomas to provide his interpretation in laymen’s terms, along with a vote recommendation, he says:

Tennessee has an exception to its anti-gambling laws for the state lottery and charities that convince the legislature to grant them an exemption – such as the one for the Boys and Girls Club Annual Duck Race fundraiser. This amendment would extend that possibility to veterans’ organizations. RECOMMENDATION: Vote YES




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