Georgia and Florida Constitutional Amendments 2018-11-06

Two Georgia state constitutional amendments are relevant to clean water, of those on the ballot tomorrow in the November 6, 2018, General Election. And in Florida, vote Yes on Florida Amendment 9, to ban offshore oil and gas drilling.

In Georgia I recommend:

  • Yes on 1, the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment
  • No on 2, appointing instead of electing some judges

Below is why.

Yes on GA 1, Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment

Yes on GA 1

For the title, summary, and detailed constitutional changes, see Ballotpedia, Georgia Amendment 1, Portion of Revenue from Outdoor Recreation Equipment Sales Tax Dedicated to Land Conservation Fund Amendment (2018), including the amendment title:

Without increasing the current state sales tax rate, shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to create the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund to conserve lands that protect drinking water sources and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; to protect and conserve forests, fish, wildlife habitats, and state and local parks; and to provide opportunities for our children and families to play and enjoy the outdoors, by dedicating, subject to full public disclosure, up to 80 percent of the existing sales tax collected by sporting goods stores to such purposes without increasing the current state sales tax rate?

See Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment for further reasons to vote Yes on GA 1.

All that plus remember eariler this year six local governments in the Suwannee River Basin and more throughout Georgia passed resolutions supporting HR 158, which might have stoped state fee diversions from already-established trust funds. Yet the Georgia Senate never scheduled a vote on HR 158. Clearly, while the legislature could just go ahead and do what Amendment 1 would do, the legislature has no intention of any such thing.

So please vote Yes on Georgia Amendment 1, the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment.

No on GA 2, Appointed state business court judges

For the title, summary, and detailed constitutional changes, see Ballotpedia, Georgia Amendment 2, Establish a State Business Court Amendment (2018), including the ballot title:

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to create a state-wide business court, authorize superior court business court divisions, and allow for the appointment process for state-wide business court judges in order to lower costs, improve the efficiency of all courts, and promote predictability of judicial outcomes in certain complex business disputes for the benefit of all citizens of this state?

Florida has appointed judges in its Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH), and it was before one such judge that we lost WWALS vs. Sabal Trail & FDEP (2015).

Willard Randall, expert welder
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS),
Jasper, Florida, 19-21 October 2015, WWALS vs. Sabal Trail & FDEP (2015).

The outcome of that case was predicted correctly a year before we even filed the petition. We don’t need that kind of “predictability of judicial outcomes” in Georgia, too.

So please vote No on Georgia Amendment 2, appointed judges.

Issues and campaign finances

As an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity, WWALS cannot recommend for or against the election of specific candidates. But we can recommend issues, such as those listed on wwals.net/issues/. We are for solar power and fishable, swimabble, drinkable water. We are against fracking, new pipelines, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) export, and coal ash going anywhere except in safe repositories paid for and housed by the companies that created it.

To find out who will be on your ballot in Georgia, see Georgia My Voter Page.

To find out contributed to their campaign, see Vote Smart or Georgia’s Campaign Finance search.

If, for example, one candidate took a lot of money from oil and gas and the other did not, and you’re opposed to fracking, or new pipelines, or LNG export, that may give you a clue who to vote for.

Tomorrow is that Great Election Day. Vote for clean water.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

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