Our take on amendments

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By Optic Editorial Board

On Nov. 2, voters will decide on five proposed state constitutional amendments. Here are our opinions on them:

• Amendment 1 — YES — This would allow the establishment of a scholarship program for veterans involved in conflicts since Aug. 1, 1990. Currently, the state constitution allows such a program for Vietnam veterans, so it’s fair that the extension include those who have served over the last two decades. Many of the veterans have come back with problems such as post-traumatic stress syndrome. As a society, we owe it to them to help further their education.

• Amendment 2 — YES — Currently, the constitution limits county elected officials to two four-year terms. This amendment would increase that to three terms. We don’t like term limits in general because we think the best way to limit terms is elections. If someone is doing a good job for the people, we should be allowed to keep them. So, in our opinion, three terms is better than two.

• Amendment 3 — YES — This amendment cleans up language regarding voting qualifications in the state constitution. Some of the provisions make the constitution consistent with federal law, and one removes references to “idiots” and “insane persons,” language that may have been acceptable in 1912 but is now rightly considered offensive.

• Amendment 4 — YES — This amendment would create an exemption from taxation for the property of veterans organizations chartered by the U.S. Congress and used primarily for veterans and their families. As it stands, the property of churches and charitable organizations is not subject to taxes. As such, it would only be fair to extend that benefit to veterans groups.

• Amendment 5 — NO — This would allow a member of the Legislature to be appointed to a civil office during the term in which that member was elected. Under the amendment, the member may be appointed if that member has resigned from the Legislature. If this passes, it could result in conflicts of interest. Would a governor offer a position to a legislator in exchange for voting the governor’s way? We sure hope not. But under this amendment, such promises could be kept. We don’t want to create any new temptations for politicians.