2013 Voter Guide

New York State Ballot Proposals

On November 5th, you will be voting YES or NO on six ballot proposals to amend the New York State Constitution. These six proposals are covered in depth below, starting with the official text of the ballot question and a description of the effect it will have if passed. To help you decide, the CFB has provided reasons to vote yes or no based on media coverage and other public commentary. The CFB also reached out to the public, requesting organizations and individuals to submit "pro" or "con" statements explaining why they support or oppose each proposal. (These statements are provided as supplied by the authors.)

The information below does not necessarily reflect all the reasons to support or oppose each proposal. Links to additional sources of information about these proposals are provided at the end of this section.

Proposal 1 | Authorizing Casino Gaming
The proposed amendment to section 9 of article 1 of the Constitution would allow the Legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York State for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated. Shall the amendment be approved?

An umbrella prohibition against gambling was added to the State Constitution in 1894. The Constitution has since been amended to allow certain forms of gambling – including state lotteries and wagering on horse racing – but casino gambling remains illegal in New York.

This proposal would amend the State Constitution to permit casino gambling at no more than seven facilities statewide for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated. Under a law enacted by the state legislature this year, if the ballot proposal is passed, up to four casinos could be placed right away in three upstate regions: the Hudson Valley-Catskill area, the Capital District- Saratoga area, and the Southern Tier. The law prohibits additional casinos for at least seven years.

Under this law, if this ballot proposal does not pass, gambling would be authorized at up to four new video lottery gaming facilities.

Reasons to Vote YES
Casinos will jumpstart the economies of economically depressed regions upstate by attracting tourists, creating jobs, and generating revenue.
This will generate substantial tax revenues for state and local governments. Most of these revenues would be used to finance public education and lower property taxes.
Casino gambling is a fun recreational activity that should be more accessible to New Yorkers.
Many state residents already visit casinos in neighboring states such as New Jersey and Connecticut. New York should reap the profits from New York residents’ gambling, not these other states.
There should be a coherent, uniform state policy with respect to casino gambling. New York already permits video lottery terminals at racetracks and has five Vegas-style casinos on Native American tribal land, as permitted under federal law.
Reasons to Vote NO
Legalized casinos are a predatory scheme to raise money from the poor and vulnerable. They would lead to an increase in compulsive gambling, which has financial and social consequences for victims and their loved ones.
Casinos attract illegal activities such as forgery, fraud, theft, embezzlement, and prostitution. These and other problems caused by gambling could cost the state nearly $400 million per year.
We should not permit casinos in New York before we more carefully study their potential impact. Casinos do not guarantee economic development, and sometimes have little overall economic effect.
Casinos in New York will not be especially profitable, and will have a limited impact on regional economies, because the Northeast has recently become saturated with casinos.
This proposal would have minimal short-term impact downstate because casinos would not be developed in New York City and nearby counties for at least seven years.
We’re always promised that new state revenues will go toward education and lowering taxes, but this never seems to happen.
Statements Supporting Proposal 1
Andrew Martin

Like the War on Drugs, our State's ban on casino gaming is harmful to our economy and makes our communities less safe. The ban helps organised crime to flourish. It has driven gambling underground, as can be seen throughout New York City's Chinatown. It encourages violence, as there is no legal recourse for fraudulent practices at an illegal gaming establishment. It discourages problem gamblers from seeking help for their addictions. Therefore, I urge a YES vote on Proposal 1, a step towards making casino gaming in New York safe and legitimate.

Howard Becker, Vice President, Membership, The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

Every time a New Yorker takes a trip to Atlantic City, Las Vegas or any casino in America, our state loses out. It’s time to change that. By voting Yes on Ballot Proposal 1 this November, New York can begin building four new casinos that will provide millions of dollars every year for our schools, create jobs and lower property taxes. This would be a victory for all New Yorkers.

Construction of the new casinos will create thousands of jobs in upstate New York. Once completed, the facilities will hire local residents for full-time, good-paying jobs there. And the casinos will also pay millions of dollars in taxes – at least $400 million annually – which means that taxes for everyday New Yorkers will go down. By law, every dollar the state gets in casino taxes must go to education aid, property tax relief, and assistance to cash-strapped local governments.

New Yorkers are going to gamble regardless - there is already gaming at state locations. A Yes vote on 1 means that out-of-state casinos will no longer be siphoning money away from New York, and it means we'll create jobs, deliver money for schools, and reduce property taxes right here at home.

Statements Opposing Proposal 1
Coalition Against Gambling In New York


We recommend a no vote on "proposal one."

The repositioning of this proposal is a shameless move by its promoters to gain yes votes. It comes out of the "all's fair in love and war and New York politics" tradition.

The dressing up of the amendment's actual language into an advertisement for a yes vote, paid for by the State Board of Elections, is worse yet as a piece of chicanery. I hope that voters will sniff out the bias and vote against the proposal just for its being handled so crudely. Voters need substantive information in order to make an informed decision on whether to change our constitution, not electioneering. CAGNY believes the amendment, if passed, won’t pay for itself, will thus shuttle hidden costs onto taxpayers, and won’t result in meaningful funding to address NY’s gambling problem. Our repeated requests for Albany to hold public hearings that vet the issue on merit have been denied. The message for voters? Hang onto your wallet.

Conservative Party of New York State

The Conservative Party of New York State, since its inception in 1962, has promoted job growth through lower taxes, encouraged localities to lower taxes and believes that schools should provide a solid education for our youth. The Conservative Party has been consistent in its Legislative Program calling for the need to reduce taxes and promote job growth and has stressed if we fail to provide jobs and remain a high tax state, we will lose our citizens to states with less taxes. The proposed amendment, while it paints a rosy picture, will not accomplish the stated goal. Casino Gambling will produce new problems as evidenced in the areas where casinos are currently located. In 1966, the Legislature told New York citizens, if they approved the Lottery, their school taxes would be reduced. Every year school taxes go up, despite the millions people spend on lottery tickets. It is time to close the money spigot that gives the legislature more money to spend.

Paul Davies, Maggie Walker Fellow, The Institute for American Values

The rosy wording lawmakers included on the casino referendum failed to mention that many independent studies show casinos also lead to increases in crime, personal bankruptcy, suicide, divorce and other economic and social ills. The wording also fails to mention that casinos here and in other states have not delivered on promises of economic development and tourism. (See Niagara Falls and Atlantic City.) Studies show that problem gamblers account for 30 to 60 percent of a casino’s revenue. In Pennsylvania, several casino managers have stated publicly that their customers visit an average of three to five times a week. A casino industry mantra is to get gamblers to “play to extinction.” Is that a public policy New York lawmakers and voters should endorse? Changing the state constitution should not be taken lightly, or done in a backroom without rigorous debate, study, analysis or public hearing – as has been the case in New York. There are a number of compelling reasons why New York’s forefather’s felt the need to prohibit casinos. A recent report by the Institute for American Values titled “Why Casinos Matter” details 31 reasons to consider and can be found here: http://www.americanvalues.org/pdfs/Why-Casinos-Matter.pdf.

Interfaith Impact of New York State


Interfaith Impact of NYS is opposed to the expansion of casino gambling in New York because it preys on the poor, creates false hopes for unearned wealth, diverts money from the local economy, and encourages addictive gambling behavior that damages individuals, families and communities.

Arnie Lieber, M.D.

The Casino Expansion Amendment breaks an almost two century prohibition of casino gambling (except 5 Indian casinos) and if approved, will predictably lead to tens of thousands of new pathological and problem gamblers in the state as new casinos become easily accessible to new populations. Government is supposed to protect our citizens, not join in partnership with a predatory industry to extract money from people who can least afford it. Casinos derive about 35-50% of their revenues from the 4% of the population who are problem gamblers, thus preying on addicted people. Promised job and tax benefits are greatly overestimated. For every dollar to NY's Treasury, $2-$3 dollars is lost to New Yorkers.

The Amendment process has been fraught with bad faith, trickery; i.e., the ballot language boasts of the benefits of passage with language not in the Amendment passed twice by the Legislature. The Governor arranged that if the amendment fails, we’ll have many additional slot machines anyway. That shows contempt for the voter. See the website of Coalition Against Gambling in NY (cagnyinf.org) and nosaugertiescasino.org for a fuller exposition of the harms passage will bring. VOTE NAY

Naomi Rothberg

Vote no on casino gambling: The ballot language on casino gambling amounts to electioneering at the polls. The claims made in the very question being put to voters, that it will improve the economy and lower taxes, are disputed by research studies on the effect of existing casinos. Atlantic City is the most well-known example, but casinos in many states have been studied and have been found to generate more costs to taxpayers -- coping with increased crime, increased gambling addiction, increased traffic fatalities, and decreases in money available to buy the goods and services which actually feed the economy. The jobs are mostly for people with minimal skills, and because thousands of such workers are needed at each casino, localities "hosting" the casinos are overwhelmed with the need for low income housing and with additional school costs. Such an important decision as a constitutional amendment to allow casinos should have been the subject of public hearings. Instead, partly no doubt as a result of the well reported campaign contributions from casino developers, the government of NYS has rushed this amendment through without even allowing for significant legislative debate, much less public debate. Vote no.

Charlotte Wellins

Wording on the ballot is clearly intended to dupe voters into thinking that it is a good thing for our economy to build it on the backs of addicts--each of whom belongs to one of our families....or is ourself! Wording points out no downside. It points out that the Governor gets his way no matter how the vote goes; if defeated, there will be Video Lottery Terminals in great abundance anyway. Whoever wrote this clearly believes that you can fool enough of the people enough of the time! Our Governor and the legislators who follow him like sheep obviously consider some New Yorkers expendable, and they do not deny the research of people such as Dr. Earl Grinols that points out there will be a minimum of $3 in social costs for every $1 brought in by casino revenue.

Ramsay Adams, Executive Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper

No on Proposal 1

"Casinos are a whole different breed. It changes communities." "It doesn’t generate wealth, it just redistributes it."
                                   -- Former Governor Mario Cuomo

When casinos come to town, problem gambling increases. Low-income people are victimized. Low-paying jobs are the norm. The casinos make money, but everyone else loses.

That’s the experience nationwide. But gambling boosters are so eager to change the State Constitution they’ve even stacked the deck in the referendum language itself. No wonder: casinos have given $59 million in campaign cash to state politicians since 2005.

Casinos are a bad bet for New York. Here’s why:
  • Casinos are like a tax on those people who can least afford it – and will unquestionably increase gambling addiction.
  • Casinos could jeopardize the city’s water supply. Development near Catskill casinos would likely encroach on the watershed, increasing the risk of pollution.
  • Crime and corruption will increase, as shown in a report by Richard Aborn, an advisor to former New York police commissioner Bill Bratton.
  • Casinos in New York City aren’t far behind. Three of the seven casinos could be located in New York City by state legislation.
Vote NO on 1.


Proposal 2 | Additional Civil Service Credit for Veterans with Disabilities Certified Post-Appointment
The proposed amendment to section 6 of article 5 of the Constitution would entitle a veteran who has received civil service credit for a civil service appointment or promotion and subsequently is certified as disabled to additional civil service credit at a subsequent appointment or promotion. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

Under the State Constitution, military veterans receive additional credit on civil service exams: 5 points for an original appointment and 2½ points for a promotion. Veterans certified as disabled receive more credit: 10 points for an original appointment and 5 points for a promotion. Currently, civil service credit for military service is applied only once – if a veteran is classified as disabled at a later date, he or she does not receive the higher amount of credit.

This proposal would allow veterans who are certified disabled after having already received credit at one appointment or promotion to receive additional credit one more time after certification of their disability. After being certified disabled, a veteran would be entitled to an additional grant of credit equal to the difference between 10 and the number of points received at the initial appointment or promotion. This would bring the total additional points of civil service credit a disabled veteran can receive to 10 for a subsequent promotion or appointment.

Reasons to Vote YES
It should not matter when a veteran is disabled for calculating civil service credit. This proposal closes that loophole.
Our veterans have risked their lives for us and deserve our full support when they come home.
Reasons to Vote NO
The civil service system already adequately compensates disabled veterans. More compensation is not needed.
Statements Supporting Proposal 2
Conservative Party of New York State

The Conservative Party of New York State holds our disabled veterans in the highest regard and is cognizant of the sacrifices made in the name of freedom for their fellow citizens. We therefore recommend a YES vote.

Statements Opposing Proposal 2


Proposal 3 | Exclusion of Indebtedness Contracted for Sewage Facilities
The proposed amendment to Article 8, section 5 of the Constitution would extend for ten years, until January 1, 2024, the authority of counties, cities, towns, and villages to exclude from their constitutional debt limits indebtedness contracted for the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
The State Constitution places limits on the debts that may be incurred by counties, cities, towns, and villages. Currently, debts incurred between 1962 through the end of this year for the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities are exempt from constitutional debt limits. The proposal would extend this exemption for another ten years, to include all such debts incurred through the end of 2023.
Reasons to Vote YES
This exemption would allow cities and towns to maintain high-quality sewage systems without exceeding their constitutional debt limitations.
This proposal would allow municipalities to continue an appropriate financial management practice that has been in place for over 50 years.
Reasons to Vote NO
This proposal would allow municipalities to accumulate excessive debt that could impose crippling obligations on future taxpayers.
This exemption sets a bad precedent by allowing municipalities to get around debt limits. If we think the debt limits are too onerous, then we should revise the debt limits.
Statements Supporting Proposal 3
Statements Opposing Proposal 3
Conservative Party of New York State

This proposal first went into effect on January 1, 1962 and has been renewed repeatedly since then. The Conservative Party does not approve of government entities separating out certain debts from their constitutional debt limit as it does not give a true picture to its citizens as to the total indebtedness of the locality, therefore we cannot support this proposal.


Proposal 4 | Settling Disputed Title in the Forest Preserve
The proposed amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the Constitution would authorize the Legislature to settle longstanding disputes between the State and private entities over ownership of certain parcels of land in the town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. In exchange for giving up its claim to disputed parcels, the State would get land to be incorporated into the forest preserve that would benefit the forest preserve more than the disputed parcels currently do. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
All of the state-owned land within the Adirondacks must be kept "forever wild" under the State Constitution. For more than a century, the titles to parcels of land in the town of Long Lake, Hamilton County have been in dispute, with both the state and private individuals claiming ownership. The state cannot transfer any of these parcels to a private owner without an amendment to the State Constitution. This proposed amendment would allow the state to give up its claim to disputed parcels in exchange for forest land of greater value, which would be added to Adirondack Park. The potential land exchange would occur only if the Legislature determines that the land to be conveyed to the state would benefit the forest preserve more than the disputed parcels do.
Reasons to Vote YES
This proposal would allow residents living on these disputed parcels to remain while adding more beneficial forest land to the Land Preserve for the public to enjoy.
Resolving this decades-long land dispute through the courts would be expensive; the state can potentially save these costs if this proposal passes.
Reasons to Vote NO
The state should not give public land to private owners.
According to the Constitution, this land is supposed to be kept "forever wild." If the state gives up its fight for this land, the entire forest preserve is in jeopardy.
The Legislature cannot be trusted to obtain land in exchange that will benefit the forest preserve more than the disputed parcels do.
Statements Supporting Proposal 4
Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve

We support this proposal to resolve longstanding disputed ownerships on about 200 parcels along one of the Adirondack Park’s largest lakes, Raquette Lake (Township 40). Many of these parcels were acquired by the state in the latter half of the 19th century at a time when establishing clear, deeded title to property was challenging, and private squatters were numerous. In the 20th century, legal challenges have sometimes favored the state’s ownership, and other times favored private owners. As uncertainty over ownership drags on, private owners have difficulty selling property or obtaining mortgages, while the state is blocked from being a good steward of the public’s land. This legislated solution, if approved, would create clear title, certainty of ownership, and provide incentives for private owners to protect parts or all of their shoreline, and create a fund for NYS to acquire additional forest preserve. Raquette Lake would become better protected over time. This amendment provides a clear public benefit and is limited, and would not set a negative precedent elsewhere.

James Blanchard




Since the 1800’s, land titles in “Township 40” have been confused by conflicting claims. The 216 parcels include the school, firehouse, waste transfer station, utility station, businesses and homes.

This Amendment will permit the State to settle these claims in exchange for land that the State has long wanted.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is expected to recommend that the Legislature target the historic Marion River Carry for acquisition: including beautifully forested acres along the Marion River, portions of Utowana’s Lake shore, and a canoe portage connecting Raquette with Utowana and Blue Mountain. This opens this land for public recreation and forever protects it from development.

Join us in completing 10 years of work by our State legislators, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Attorney General’s Office, Hamilton County and Town of Long Lake officials, Adirondack environmental groups and private citizens in this effort to clear conflicting land claims and add to the Forest Preserve at NO COST to the taxpayer.

Additional Information at: http://twp40.com

A “YES” vote for PROP 4 - A “WIN” for ALL New Yorkers

Conservative Party of New York State

The State Constitution generally forbids the lease, sale, exchange, or taking of any forest preserve land. The proposed amendment would allow the Legislature to settle 100-year-old disputes between the State and private parties over ownership of certain parcels of land in the forest preserve by giving up the State's claim to disputed parcels. In exchange, the State would get land to be incorporated into the forest preserve. The land exchange would occur only if the Legislature determines that the land to be conveyed to the State would benefit the forest preserve more than the disputed parcels do.

Carolyn N. Gerdin, Spokesperson for Township 40

Please Vote “YES” On Proposition 4

Imagine what it would be like to get a letter from the State telling you that you have to leave the home that you and your ancestors have lived in for over 100 years. Why? Because the State has an old claim on your land that by law it cannot relinquish. Even though that claim is based on clerical errors the State still cannot relinquish its claim.

The owners of the 216 contested parcels in Township 40, including homes, businesses, the school, the firehouse and the waste transfer station constantly live with this uncertainty. But you can help change that.

Your vote in favor of Proposition 4 on November 5th will help to solve this more than 100-year old problem while adding valuable recreational land to New York’s forever wild forest preserve, land that ALL New Yorkers can use and enjoy.

There is NO COST to the New York State taxpayers.

Supported by these environmental groups: Adirondack Mountain Club, Adirondack Wild and Adirondack Council.

Proposition 4 is a “WIN” for all New Yorkers.

Please vote “Yes” on Proposition 4.

More detailed information can be found at: http://twp40.com/

Teresa R. Sayward, Former New York State Assemblywoman

I and a group that included The Attorney General’s Office, DEC, Speaker Silver’s Office, Senator Little, Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and the Chair of the Hamilton Counties Board of Supervisors worked together to resolve this longstanding issue.

Over the years both the State and the people engaged in lawsuits with mixed results. This process is both costly and time consuming and the land has been occupied for over 100 years. The local fire company and the school properties are contested. Clearly, the land is neither forest preserve nor is it private property. The Legislature concluded that it is equitable and appropriate for the state to relinquish their claim and in exchange the people will make payment to the state and the state will purchase and incorporate multiple acres of pristine land into the forest preserve. The Legislature found that the title disputes constitute a unique situation found nowhere else in New York State. This dispute dates back to the 1800’s and is supported by both Environmental Groups and State Agencies.

Please vote yes on Amendment #4

Clark J. Seaman, Town Supervisor, Long Lake, NY

VOTE “YES” ON PROPOSITION 4: If passed, this amendment will settle contested land disputes over 100 years old between the state and property owners within Township 40 in the Hamlet of Raquette Lake in Long Lake, Hamilton County.

The disputed land titles resulted from tax sales in the late 1800s when the state purchased large tracts of land in Township 40 EVEN THOUGH THE PROPERTY OWNERS HAD PAID THEIR TAXES AND HAD RECEIPTS FOR THOSE PAYMENTS. The tax sales were the result of clerical errors, etc. Those tax sales were later ruled illegal BY the Court of Appeals. Unfortunately, Article 14 of the NYS Constitution prevents the state from resolving this longstanding problem through any means other than litigation or a constitutional amendment.

There will be NO COST to New York citizens. In fact, there will be a net benefit to the citizens because, at no cost to the State, the amendment requires land to come into the State’s constitutionally protected Forest Preserve that will be a net benefit to the Preserve.

VOTE “YES” ON Proposition 4:
A “WIN” for New Yorkers.
Adds land to the forest preserve
No cost to taxpayers
Resolves contested land titles.
Additional information: www.twp40.com.

Statements Opposing Proposal 4


Proposal 5 | In Relation to a Land Exchange in the State Forest Preserve with NYCO Minerals, Inc.
The proposed amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the Constitution would authorize the Legislature to convey forest preserve land located in the town of Lewis, Essex County, to NYCO Minerals, a private company that plans on expanding an existing mine that adjoins the forest preserve land. In exchange, NYCO Minerals would give the State at least the same amount of land of at least the same value, with a minimum assessed value of $1 million, to be added to the forest preserve. When NYCO Minerals finishes mining, it would restore the condition of the land and return it to the forest preserve. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

All of the state-owned land within the Adirondacks must be kept “forever wild” under the State Constitution. It is thus necessary to amend the state Constitution in order to transfer any of this land to another owner.

This proposal would permit the state to transfer title to approximately 200 acres of Adirondack Park in Essex County to NYCO Minerals, a private mining company that operates a mine adjacent to the forest preserve. In exchange, NYCO Minerals would transfer to the state at least the same quantity of land, with a minimum assessed value of $1 million, to be added to the forest preserve. When NYCO Minerals finishes mining, the company would restore the condition of the land it received in the exchange and return it to the forest preserve.

The proposed amendment also would allow NYCO Minerals to test to determine the quantity and quality of the mineral to be mined on the land to be exchanged before the exchange occurs. It would require NYCO Minerals to give the State its test results so that the State can use them to determine the value of the land to be conveyed to NYCO Minerals. The proposed amendment also would require that if, after testing, NYCO Minerals does not want the forest preserve land, NYCO Minerals still must give the State at least the same amount of land of at least the same value of the land that was disturbed by the testing. This land would be incorporated into the forest preserve.

Reasons to Vote YES
Allowing NYCO Minerals to use the land could extend the life of its mine by at least a decade, saving more than 100 jobs in the area. The company's current mine has only three more years of expected life.
The Forest Preserve contains the only viable mining location in the region. Other potential mining sites would be much more difficult and costly to mine.
The proposal would not diminish the amount of land available for the public to enjoy in the short term, and would ultimately increase the size of the preserve once NYCO Minerals returns the land it received to the State.
Reasons to Vote NO
This sets a bad precedent because it would be the first swap of Adirondack Park land undertaken for private commercial gain.
NYCO should not mine on Adirondack Park land when it could mine at an alternate site two miles away called Oak Hill.
Mined lands that will be returned to the Park will have suffered ecological destruction.
There are a number of scenarios under which NYCO Minerals might never return the exchanged land to the public trust, or might return it in a damaged state, such as if the company were to go out of business. This could make the land unsuitable for public use or require public dollars to rehabilitate.
Statements Supporting Proposal 5
Conservative Party of New York State

As with proposal number four, the State Constitution generally forbids the lease, sale, exchange, or taking of any forest preserve land. NYCO Minerals is a producer of wollastonite, a mineral that has industrial importance worldwide. In the United States, wollastonite is mined in Willsboro, New York and Gouverneur, New York. This proposed amendment would allow NYCO Minerals to expand and explore for the mineral, keep people employed and still protect the forest preserve.

Teresa R. Sayward, Former New York State Assemblywoman

State Agencies, Adirondack Environmental Groups, NYCO, Senator Little and I worked collectively to resolve this economic Adirondack Park issue.

NYCO's mineral at the mining site will be exhausted soon. NYCO operates in a community of 1900 people, providing its employees with good wages, medical and retirement benefits. Employees are volunteer fire fighters, EMT’s, soccer coaches and church leaders. Their children attend our small school. Without NYCO our community could lose half of our students, volunteers and church leaders. NYCO provided rock throughout the county for river stabilization during hurricane Irene. NYCO donated materials for a bathhouse at the local park. Their engineers teach students at school and provide free services to the town.

Adirondack Communities depend on tourism. That’s good, but if you don’t own the business you make minimum wage. NYCO provides over 100 jobs countywide.

NYCO will purchase land for incorporation into the Forest Preserve. This will provide access to pristine vistas not now available to the public.

NYCO's has a good environmental record which is why the amendment is supported by both State Agencies and Environmental groups.

Vote yes on Amendment #5
Statements Opposing Proposal 5
Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve

We oppose this proposal to swap land with NYCO Minerals. The land NYCO Minerals wants is immediately adjoining its open pit mine, and is part of the Jay Mountain Wilderness area, protected as “forever wild” under the NYS Constitution. NYCO has plenty of minerals it can mine under its ownership within a few miles of this site, but it wants to mine the public’s forest immediately adjacent to its current mine for reasons of lower cost and convenience. New York’s Forever Wild Constitution should not be amended simply for reasons of corporate convenience, otherwise all manner of private enterprise seeking to disturb the forest preserve through logging, developing or mining, etc. will be encouraged to do so. This proposal therefore establishes a negative precedent across the Adirondacks. Also, the wildeness NYCO seeks to mine has large, outstanding stands of trees growing on it, and provides wildlife habitat as it exists today as an older forest. Although NYCO promises to exchange for other lands, those lands may not have the same ecological, recreational and aesthetic value of this land. Also, if NYS wishes to buy additional land from the company, it should do so through the normal land protection and acquisition process, not an amendment to the Constitution.

Protect the Adirondacks

There are four reasons to Vote No on Proposition 5, which seeks to amend the State Constitution to remove 200 acres of "forever wild" Forest Preserve wilderness lands in the northeast Adirondack Park and give them to a mining company.

First, this proposal sets a terrible precedent, as it would be the first time that Forest Preserve lands were swapped for a private commercial benefit. Other amendments were for municipal purposes such as protecting public water supplies.

Second, the 200 acres of Forest Preserve lands to be given to the mining company contain 150-200 year old growth forests dominated by large trees. Lands to be given to the state are heavily cut over lands.

Third, the mining company has sought and received numerous state permits for a second mine a mile away; expansion of its mine into the Forest Preserve allows them to delay reclamation.

Fourth, there is no legislation that details the land swap. The proposed amendment simply authorizes the mining company to build roads and drill test pits. Based on what it finds, the company will replace lands lost.

Proposition 5 is a great deal for the mining company, but a raw deal for the Forest Preserve.

Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter

The Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter Urges Your No Vote on Ballot Proposal # 5.

Proposal #5 attempts to portray a valuable mining interest and the jobs it creates in the Adirondacks as imperiled unless we tear at the “forever wild” provision of the state constitution, which has been the bedrock principle of conservation in New York for 119 years. The truth is that NYCO is attempting to expand wollastonite extraction into the Forest Preserve’s Jay Mountain Wilderness because it is more cost effective than it’s other local business options - hardly constituting the need for a constitutional remedy. If the voters allow NYCO to destroy “forever wild” Forest Preserve through exploratory drilling and if it is found that the ore vein on state land is not to their satisfaction then NYCO can walk away without giving the State any mitigation land or other compensation at all for the damage caused. This is a poorly conceived land swap and undeserving of voter approval.


Proposal 6 | Increasing Age until which Certain State Judges Can Serve
The proposed amendment to the Constitution, amending sections 2 and 25 of article 6, would increase the maximum age until which certain state judges may serve as follows: (a) a Justice of the Supreme Court would be eligible for five additional two-year terms after the present retirement age of 70, instead of the three such terms currently authorized; and (b) a Judge of the Court of Appeals who reaches the age of 70 while in office would be permitted to remain in service on the Court for up to 10 years beyond the present retirement age of 70 in order to complete the term to which that Judge was appointed. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

Judges of the Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court — serve 14-year terms, but under the State Constitution, they must retire once they reach the mandatory retirement age of 70, even if they have not served their terms to completion. The proposed amendment would permit a Judge who reaches the age of 70 while in office to remain in service on the Court for up to 10 additional years in order to complete the term to which that Judge was appointed.

Justices of the Supreme Court – the state’s trial and appellate division courts – also must retire at age 70 under the Constitution, but are permitted to serve up to three two-year terms after they reach retirement age if their services are needed and they are deemed competent to perform the full duties of the office. This proposal would permit Supreme Court justices to serve two additional post-retirement terms, also allowing them to serve until age 80.

Reasons to Vote YES
The current mandatory retirement ages were set in 1869. Considering that life expectancy is now much higher and many senior citizens lead active and healthy lives, it no longer makes sense to force judges to retire at age 70.
This proposal will allow the most experienced judges to remain on the bench. Older judges may be more effective than younger judges due to their experience and the fact that their decisions may be less influenced by personal career prospects.
Four current members of the U.S. Supreme Court are over 70, and have showed no signs of slowing down. If these judges sat on New York State’s highest court, they would have already been forced to retire.
Reasons to Vote NO
We need younger and more diverse judges to bring a fresh perspective to the courts – not older judges serving longer.
This proposal could result in judges serving after they are no longer mentally or physically capable.
All judges in New York State should be subject to the same mandatory retirement age. This proposal creates a two-tiered system where statewide judges can retire later than judges in local and specialized courts, whose current retirement age of 70 would be unaffected.
Statements Supporting Proposal 6
The Dominican Bar Association

Dominican Bar Association supports the Constitutional Amendment to remove age restriction on NYS judges.

The Proposition would effectively end the discriminatory mandatory retirement age for New York State’s judges.

The Dominican Bar Association (DBA) - an association of lawyers committed to furthering the interests of its members and those of the community at large - supports Constitutional Amendment 6 (a/k/a Proposition 6), a Constitutional Amendment, which if successful, will raise the mandatory retirement age for many members of New York State’s judiciary. Since 1869, this State’s judges have been subject to mandatory retirement. In the DBA’s view, this is arbitrary, discriminatory and at odds with this State’s public policy, which since the 1980's has proscribed mandatory retirement in both the public and private sectors. Judges should thus be granted parity with the rest of the State’s workforce and the DBA, therefore, encourages the voters in New York State to vote Yes to Proposition 6 this November.

The Fund and Committee for Modern Courts

The Fund and Committee for Modern Courts enthusiastically urges the public to vote yes on Ballot Proposal Six to increase the age until which Judges of the Court of Appeals and Justices of the Supreme Court can serve. Adopting this proposal ensures the retention of some of our most experienced and valuable members of the Judiciary.

Over the next four years, we will lose over 40 members of the Supreme Court (the state’s trial court of unlimited original jurisdiction) and three members of the Court of Appeals, (the state’s highest court) because of an arbitrary retirement age that applies to no other public official in the state. Under current law, those Supreme Court justices cannot and will not be replaced by new judges when they leave the bench.

The Judiciary desperately needs to retain these judges to meet the ever-increasing case load of our courts. With these additional resources, the Chief Judge will be able to assign additional judges to our Family Court, where children and families seek the relief they so desperately need and deserve.

By voting yes on this proposal, you will guarantee that New York State has a Judiciary which is capable of providing justice for all.

New York State Trial Lawyers Association

We strongly encourage New Yorkers to vote YES on Proposal 6, which extends the mandatory retirement age for Justices of the state’s Supreme Court and Judges of the Court of Appeals.

Currently a Justice of the Supreme Court who reaches 70 must retire, at which time their seat is filled by a newly elected Justice. At present, the “retired” judge remains eligible to serve three additional 2-year terms until 76 years of age. Proposal 6 would make that Justice eligible for two additional terms. That Justice’s seat would still be filled by a newly elected Justice, resulting in a net gain of additional judicial resources.

We look to our state courts to defend and enforce our rights. New York’s courts and citizens should be permitted to benefit from the knowledge and wisdom of our most experienced and dedicated jurists. The existing language was enacted in 1869, when average lifespans were in the 40s. Given that average life expectancy is 80.9 for a New Yorker, it’s long overdue that we update our constitution.

VOTE YES on Proposal 6 to ensure our most experienced judges have the opportunity to continue to serve our state.

The Puerto Rican Bar Association

The Puerto Rican Bar Association proudly supports the Constitutional Amendment to remove age restrictions on New York State’s judiciary (Proposition 6). We ask that New York State Voters VOTE YES on Proposition 6. This constitutional limitation, passed in 1869, operates as a discriminatory and arbitrary rule, one which should have been eliminated decades ago. This constitutional retirement age requirement for judges is the only one of its kind remaining in New York State. Ironically, it has been the public policy of New York State since the 1980's to prohibit employers from subjecting their employees to mandatory retirement in the public and private sectors. The time has come to do away with this constitutional prohibition. Court filings have increased 56% over the past 30 years, while the number of judicial positions has only increased a paltry 8%. Vote YES on Proposition #6 - (1) It’s a matter of sound public policy to help curb crowded court dockets; (2) Helps to reduce a backlog of cases that hampers our legal system and would make resources available where they are needed most -- in poor and underserved communities; (3) Strengthens the judiciary by retaining its most experienced judges. VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 6.

Justice for All

Passing Proposition 6 will allow able-bodied and experienced judges to continue serving our judicial system and administer justice for New Yorkers.

The current system forces experienced judges to retire at an arbitrarily set age limit, set through an 1869 Constitutional provision; a time when the life expectancy was about 40. It prevents physically and mentally fit jurists, who are at the peak of their career, from serving New York's judicial system. Judges are the only class of workers in government today who are forced to adhere to this unacceptable form of age discrimination.

Voters have an opportunity to reform this archaic provision through a Constitutional Amendment. Proposition 6 will enact rigorous physical and mental examinations for judges seeking re-certification after the age of 70 (the current age-cap level). It will also help reduce case backlogs in our courts.

It’s why a consensus of legal professionals who work with judges support lifting the age-cap. Groups like the Fund and Committee for Modern Courts, the New York County Lawyers Association, and the Puerto Rican Bar are among numerous professional legal organizations supporting Proposition 6.

Let’s end age discrimination against judges and create a stronger judiciary system that will benefit all New Yorkers.

Statements Opposing Proposal 6
Conservative Party of New York State

Currently a Justice of the Supreme Court is eligible for three additional two-year terms after the present retirement age of 70, this proposal would allow them to serve an additional 4 years while also allowing a Judge on the Court of Appeals to remain in service for up to 10 additional years. The Conservative Party acknowledges that citizens are living longer and healthier lives; however, there is no imperative need to keep judges on the bench for extended terms while electing new Supreme Court Judges. A Court of Appeals Judge is appointed and we strongly believe the citizens should elect all judges and be responsible to the citizens, therefore we reject extending the term of the Members of the Court of Appeals.

Citizens Union

Citizens Union opposes proposal six, which would extend the retirement age for only certain state judges. There is no principled reason for raising the retirement age for only two groups of judges – the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court – who do not constitute the majority of the state’s judges.

Even the amendment’s limited changes appear arbitrary. Supreme Court justices would be able to be certificated for up to four more years from 76 to 80, yet there would be no such process for Court of Appeals judges. Court of Appeals judges whose terms expire in their 70s would leave the bench immediately before reaching 80 and could not be reappointed, while judges whose terms expire in their 60s could be reappointed to serve until 80. Their retirement age will thus be determined by the vagary of their age at the time of appointment.

We support other reforms to make more efficient and modernize the courts by consolidating the nine trial courts into a two-tiered system. The State Legislature also has the authority to create additional judgeships, particularly in Family Court where the number of judges has not kept up with the burgeoning caseload.

For our detailed position, see www.citizensunion.org.

Additional Resources

These links will direct you away from the CFB’s website to other online sources of information about the state ballot proposals. These sites are not in any way affiliated with or endorsed by the CFB, and the CFB has not verified the information provided.