Know the 4 amendments on the November ballot

There are a total of four amendments on the November ballot -- ambiguous by name, but they could change the state constitution in many ways. 10-7-14

(WBIR) Voters are heading to the polls Tuesday, and four amendments, which could change the Tennessee Constitution, will be on the ballot: abortion law changes, who will select judges, gambling, and state-income tax.

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Here's a breakdown on the four amendments:

Amendment 1: Abortion law changes

Currently the state does not have power to change abortion rules. Amendment 1 would change that restriction, giving the legislature power to change or repeal current rules involving the procedure.

A "yes" to Amendment 1:

An abortion would not be considered a "right," according to the Tennessee Constitution. If an abortion weren't a "right," the state would not have to pay for the procedure.

Supporters of "Yes on 1" say voting yes for Amendment 1 would restore the state's right to pass protective measures for abortion clinics in Tennessee.

A "no" to Amendment 1:

A no to Amendment 1 would keep the rules as it stands -- traced back to the Roe v. Wade decision in the 1970s.

This has been arguably the biggest and most heated debate, because of the publicity it generated. Both sides have been getting their messages across the state, including Knoxville. Last month, 10News profiled both sides of the debate.

The specific language on Amendment 1, and the proposed changes to the Constitution can be found on the State of Tennessee's website.

Amendment 2: Who chooses judges?

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. If Amendment 2 passes, the governor would then pick a judge and the state Legislature would need to confirm the selection. Voters would have their say after a judge's eight-year term, whether to retain the judge for another term, which is actually the current practice.

Last month, Governor Haslam and former Governor Phil Bredesen were on the UT Campus, explaining why they support Amendment 2. Bredesen said "I think as a practical matter we will just get much better judges, a much better judicial process in the state."

The specific language on Amendment 2, and the proposed changes to the Constitution can be found on the State of Tennessee's website.

Amendment 3: State income tax

All Tennesseans know we don't pay an income tax. Amendment 3 would make sure that stays the same, just on paper -- or in this case the State Constitution. The amendment said, "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."

Some opponents argue not having a state income tax is one less form of revenue that the state needs right now.

Amendment 4: Charities & games of chance

The reason why we have a state lottery is that it supports education. That facet is one of the many groups that are classified as 501 (c) (3) by the IRS, and can use games of chance for revenue. If Amendment 4 passes, the legislature would vote on which non-profit organizations that support veterans could host gambling events.

The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle has more on Amendment 4's potential with the state.


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