All 4 Tenn. constitutional amendments pass

Amendment 1

Voters in Tennessee passed Amendment 1, a measure which will give lawmakers more power to regulate and restrict abortions.

The amendment reads:

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.

Currently, Tennessee bans abortions after the fetus is deemed viable unless it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.

MORE: Amendment 1 passes, gives lawmakers power to regulate abortion

The amendment will have no immediate effect on abortion in Tennessee. However, lawmakers would have more ability in the future to pass restrictions that the state Supreme Court has previously ruled were unconstitutional.

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Amendment 2

Voters also passed Amendment 2, which will change the way judges are appointed in the state.

Currently, the practice calls for a judicial nominating commission to interview candidates and present three nominees to the governor, who then selects the judge out of that three-person panel.

The amendment reads:

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.

With the passage of the amendment, the governor will now pick a judge and the state legislature will need to confirm the selection. Voters will have their say after a judge's eight-year term, whether to retain the judge for another term, which is actually the current practice.

Amendment 3

The passage of Amendment 3 will solidify in the state constitution that Tennesseans will never pay a state income tax.

The amendment reads:

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.

Since the amendment passed, it will be written into the state constitution that Tennesseans will not ever be able to enact an income tax.

Amendment 4

Voters passed ‚ÄčAmendment 4, which will allow the state legislature to authorize lotteries for certain nonprofit organizations.

The amendment reads:

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.

Since the amendment passed, the legislature can vote for nonprofit organizations that support veterans to be able to host gambling events.


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