Information on the Constitutional Amendments

This November the ballot includes four amendments to the Georgia Constitution. Below is the wording on the ballot, including their preamble if any. I hope the information will help you in your decision on these matters. If you have more questions about these or any issues, please contact me.

As always, thank you for the privilege of allowing me to serve as your representative.

Sheri Gilligan
Georgia House of Representatives 24th District

AMENDMENT 1: Creation of an Opportunity School District
BALLOT PREAMBLE: Shall the Georgia Constitution be amended to provide greater flexibility and state accountability to fix failing schools through increasing community involvement?
BALLOT QUESTION: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?
Pro:

  • Allows the Governor to establish an Opportunity School District (OSD) to address failing schools
  • Provides direct oversight and support beyond that provided by the local school board and staffing

Con:

  • Creates a new bureaucracy
  • Gives authority to an unelected official to oversee up to 100 schools
  • Undermines local authority

AMENDMENT 2: Creates funding source for victims of human trafficking
BALLOT QUESTION: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow additional penalties for criminal cases in which a person is adjudged guilty of keeping a place of prostitution, pimping, pandering, pandering by compulsion, solicitation of sodomy, masturbation for hire, trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, or sexual exploitation of children and to allow assessments on adult entertainment establishments to fund the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund to pay for care and rehabilitative and social services for individuals in this state who have been or may be sexually exploited?
Pro:

  • Creates a permanent fund that will support services for victims of human trafficking
  • Funding may not be diverted for other purposes by state legislators

Con:

  • Targets an industry and levies a punitive tax on that industry
  • Taxes gross not net revenue

 

AMENDMENT 3: Changes oversight of judicial conduct
BALLOT PREAMBLE: Shall the Georgia Constitution be amended to reform and re-establish the Judicial Qualifications Commission and provide for its composition, governance, and powers?
BALLOT QUESTION: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to abolish the existing Judicial Qualifications Commission; require the General Assembly to create and provide by general law for the composition, manner of appointment, and governance of a new Judicial Qualifications Commission, with such commission having the power to discipline, remove, and cause involuntary retirement of judges; require the Judicial Qualifications Commission to have procedures that provide for due process of law and review by the Supreme Court of its advisory opinions; and allow the Judicial Qualifications Commission to be open to the public in some manner?
Pro:

  • Subjects the Judicial Qualification Commission (JQC) to review by the elected leadership of the state

Con:

  • Hearings to understand and evaluate the most appropriate approach to remedy flaws in the current system are just now underway
  • Does not increase transparency as originally intended

AMENDMENT 4: Designates sales taxes on fireworks to trauma care, fire protection services and public safety
BALLOT PREAMBLE: Shall the Georgia Constitution be amended to dedicate revenue from existing taxes on fireworks to trauma care, fire services, and public safety?
BALLOT QUESTION: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the proceeds of excise taxes on the sale of fireworks or consumer fireworks be dedicated to the funding of trauma care, firefighter equipping and training, and local public safety purposes?
Pro:

  • Creates a permanent fund for trauma care, fire safety and public safety
  • Provides a direct funding stream to ameliorate any harms created by the use of fireworks

Con:

  • If this funding model proves flawed it would require a constitutional amendment to alter it