A look at the amendments and referendum offered on the Nov. 2 Georgia ballot:
Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to make Georgia more economically competitive by authorizing legislation to uphold reasonable competitive agreements?
This amendment would allow competitive contracts to be enforced in Georgia courts.
Current law prohibits the General Assembly from allowing any contract that would create a monopoly or defeat competition.
The new change would allow judicial enforcement for contracts restricting or regulating competition between employers and employees, distributors and manufacturers, lessors and lessees, partnerships and partners, franchisors and franchisees, sellers and purchasers of a business of commercial enterprise or two or more employers.
This would also give the courts the power to limit the duration, geographic area and scope of prohibited activities in a contract restricting or regulating competitive activities.
Examples of these contracts include an agreement by an employee to refrain from competing with the employer after termination of employment or an agreement by a seller not to compete with the seller’s customer or solicit business from customers of the seller’s customer.
Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to impose an annual $10 trauma charge on certain motor vehicles in this state for the purpose of funding trauma care?
Georgians must decide if they are willing to tack an additional $10 to their annual car registration fees to support expanding the state’s trauma care network.
If voters approve the amendment, officials expect the initiative to raise about $80 million annually. The amendment specifies the fee would be deposited monthly into a trauma trust fund and would be used only for the trauma network. Additionally, the money would remain in the account, not roll over to the state’s general fund, at the end of each fiscal year.
Proximity to a trauma care center can make the difference between life and death. For optimal survival outcomes, medical officials say it’s important that individuals with a traumatic injury get to a facility within an hour, or 30 minutes for children.
Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to allow the Georgia Department of Transportation to enter into multiyear construction agreements without requiring appropriations in the current fiscal year for the total amount of payments that would be due under the entire agreement so as to reduce long-term construction costs paid by the state?
The Georgia Department of Transportation is seeking the ability to enter into multiyear construction agreements.
If voters approve a Nov. 2 statewide referendum, the DOT says it will have the flexibility to only pay for the amount of work done in a given year, increasing the number of projects that can be done.
The financially struggling agency also sees multiyear agreements as a way to “help maintain Georgia’s high-quality road system and improve it where needed,” according to an explanation page on its Web site.
The DOT cites a $10 million project as an example in which $3 million is spent in the first year. The remaining $7 million could be used that year on another project.
And motor fuel revenues in following years would be used to pay project costs in the years when the costs are incurred.
“It is the same concept of installment payments that we use in our daily lives,” the website states.
Shall the Constitution be amended so as to provide for guaranteed cost savings for the state by authorizing a state entity to enter into multiyear contracts which obligate state funds for energy efficiency or conservation improvement projects?
This amendment would allow multiyear contracts for energy efficiency or conservation improvement projects.
Current law prohibits a state agency from entering into a contract with private companies that require payments beyond the current fiscal year.
Under this exception, the General Assembly could allow government agencies to take on debt to enter into contracts up to 10 years for energy and conservation projects. Under the contract, the “green” projects must show specific savings or revenue gains due to the improvements.
Introduced by the Senate in February 2009, the bill that suggests the amendment was signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue in June 2010, and if passed by voters, it will become effective Jan. 1.
Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to allow the owners of real property located in industrial areas to remove the property from the industrial area?
“That amendment would in essence only affect two counties,” said Hall County Planning Director Randy Knight-on. If approved, the amendment will allow property owners in Jeff Davis and Chatham counties to remove the industrial zoning designation from their property and allow it to be annexed into a city.
The amendment only affects these two counties because of local amendments to the Georgia constitution in the 1950s. At that time, Jeff Davis
and Chatham approved amendments creating industrial zones.
Since 1983, all amendments must be statewide, so voters throughout the state will be asked to approve altering the zoning conditions in those two counties.
Shall the Act be approved which grants an exemption from state ad valorem taxation for inventory of a business?
This referendum would allow business owners to be exempt from paying state taxes on their business inventory.
Current laws do not differentiate between personal and business property, therefore both are considered to be “real property” and thus subject to taxation.
The referendum would amend a portion of chapter 5 in Georgia code, which deals with taxation.
The amendment was approved by the Georgia General Assembly and signed by Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2009. It is known formally as (Georgia) House Bill 482.
Voters statewide must approve the measure before it is put into action.
If a majority of voters approve the referendum, it would become effective Jan. 1. If it is not approved, tax codes will remain unchanged.