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Breaking Down the NY State Ballot Proposals

Election day is Tuesday, and New York voters have six ballot proposals to vote on.
PLATTSBURGH - Election day is Tuesday, and New York voters have six ballot proposals to vote on.

The proposals have already been approved by the legislature and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY).

New York Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R/I-115th District) helped us untangle the details in the six amendments to the state constitution.

 1. Allow Casino Gaming
The first proposition is more well-known: allowing casinos in the state. Right now casinos are only allowed on Native American land.

"There's no question people are gambling. They're going out of state, they're going to Connecticut, New Jersey, Las Vegas," said Duprey. "People will still do that, but perhaps we will get more of the revenue here in the state," she said.

Voting yes would bring seven proposed casinos to New York.

2. Give Disabled Veterans Civil Service Credits
Prop 2 expands extra credits given to veterans on civil service exams. Currently, veterans get extra points on the exam to get a government job, and more if they are disabled. But current rules require them to be categorized as disabled before the first time they take the test. That means if they take a civil service exam later for a new job or promotion and are newly categorized as disabled, they wouldn't get the extra credits. Voting yes on Prop 2 closes the loophole.

"The intent of this constitutional amendment is to give an advantage to disabled veterans who have given themselves to serve our country," Duprey said.

3. Extend: Sewage Treatment Debt Limit Exclusion
This proposition is just to extend a current amendment 10 more years, from 2014 to 2024. It allows towns to exclude sewage treatment from their debt limit.

"If a municipality needs to have a sewage plant, let's let them get it," Duprey said.

4. Land Swap: Town of Long Lake
Propositions 4 and 5 concern the North County, and lands that are called "Forever Wild" property. The town of Long Lake has been disputed for over a century--voting yes on Prop 4 would transfer ownership from the state to private owners in the town.

"This will clear up the title, it will say people actually own the property that their homes are on. It also includes a fire department, a school and a church," Duprey said.

5. Land Swap: NYCO Minerals
The other North Country land swap is in Essex County, where NYCO Minerals would get 200 acres of forest preserve land from the state for mining. They would be required to give the land back after they mine it so it could be a preserve again.

Opponents to Props 4 and 5 don't want the Adirondacks to have more development; they want the land to remain "Forever Wild."

Duprey says if NYCO doesn't get the land, they will have to leave New York and 100 people will lose their jobs.

6. Raise Judge Retirement Age to 80
The final proposition would raise the mandatory retirement age from 70 to 80 for New York Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges.

Currently, judges are elected for 14-year terms. But when they hit 70, even if their term is not finished they have to either retire or apply for another 2-year term. They can do this every 2 years until age 76. Voting yes on Prop 6 would allow them to remain judges until 80.

Supporters say people are living and working longer, and forcing retirement is unfair.

Opponents want more turnover and diversity on the bench.

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