During the November 3rd election voters will have the opportunity to decide on three statewide ballot measures. This year there will be 2 proposed constitutional amendments and one statewide referendum question.
Amendment #1: Authorizes dedication of fees and taxes to their intended purposes by general state law.
(House Resolution No. 164, Resolution Act No. 597)
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?”
The Georgia Secretary of States website (beginning on page 7) gives the following summary of the question:
“This proposal authorizes the Georgia General Assembly by general law to require that fees or taxes collected for some specific intended public purpose be used as so intended. It requires any such general law to identify the specific public purpose, name the state agency to administer the funds, require the agency to make annual reports of revenues and expenses, and automatically end the fee or tax within ten years. It prohibits the General Assembly from designating funds when total revenues so dedicated equal or exceed one percent of the total state revenues based on the previous fiscal year’s appropriated state revenues. It exempts such general laws from certain state constitutional restrictions. It requires that such general laws, including amendments, be approved by two-thirds of each chamber of the General Assembly, but allows for repeal of such general laws by simple majority vote. It prohibits attempts to reallocate dedicated funds through any appropriations act or amendment. It provides for temporary suspension of such general laws by the Governor or by the General Assembly in the event of a financial emergency, subject to certain limitations…”
The bottom line:
Voting for this amendment would place greater restrictions on the general assembly from being able to use fees and taxes for any other purpose than that for which they were originally intended.
Amendment #2: Waives state and local sovereign immunity for violation of state laws, state, and federal constitutions.
(House Resolution 1023, Resolution Act No. 596)
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to waive sovereign immunity and allow the people of Georgia to petition the superior court for relief from governmental acts done outside the scope of lawful authority or which violate the laws of this state, the Constitution of Georgia, or the Constitution of the United States?”
Note here some of the summary facts from the Georgia Secretary of State website:
“This proposal waives state and local sovereign immunity so as to allow citizens to sue the State of Georgia, its departments and other agencies, and its local governments in superior courts and authorizes superior courts to order state and local officers and employees to cease violations of the Georgia Constitution, the laws of the State of Georgia, or the United States Constitution, beginning with violations occurring on or after January 1, 2021. It requires that such suits be brought only against the State or Georgia, or in the case of a local government, against the specific local government. It requires superior courts to dismiss any such lawsuit that names any individual state or local public officer or employee as a defendant. It maintains the ability of superior courts to dismiss such suits based on other appropriate legal or equitable grounds or limitation on review in superior court. It prohibits any type of monetary award, including attorney’s fees or costs of litigation, unless authorized by an Act of the Georgia General Assembly. It does not prohibit the General Assembly from further waiving certain other immunities provided for under Georgia’s Constitution, though it does not waive any immunity provided for by the United States Constitution…”
The bottom line:
Voting for this would allow citizens the opportunity to sue their local and/or state government when a possible constitutional right or state law has been violated.
Statewide Referendum Question A: Provides tax exemption for certain single-family homes owned by tax exempt charities. (House Bill No. 344, Act No. 149)
(House Bill No. 344, Act No. 149)
“Shall the Act be approved which provides an exemption from ad valorem taxes for all real property owned by a purely public charity, if such charity is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code and such real property is held exclusively for the purpose of building or repairing single-family home to be financed by such charity to individuals using loan that shall not bear interest?”
Once again, the Georgia Secretary of States website offers the follow summary regarding facts related to this amendment:
“This proposal authorizes a new exemption from ad valorem taxes for all real property owned by a purely public charity, if such charity is exempt from federal taxation and such property is used only for building or repairing single-family homes to be financed by such charity to individuals using zero interest loans…If approved by a majority of the voters, the Act becomes effective on January 1, 2021, and applies to all tax years beginning on or after that date.”
The bottom line:
Voting for this would mean that you are in favor of exemptions for ad valorem taxes on real property that is owned by a public charity for housing purposes.
I hope that you find this information helpful in determining whether to vote in favor of these questions. Your participation in the voting process on these kinds of amendments is very important in fulfilling your responsibilities of being an American citizen. Thank you for taking it seriously. I believe God blesses those that do.
For more information, please contact me at 706-436-2646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.