Decision 2013

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State voters approve all but one amendment

By WKTV News

(AP) - New York voters approved all but one of the proposed constitutional amendments on Tuesday.

Voters have authorized seven Las Vegas-style casinos to be built to boost the economy.

With 60 percent of precincts reporting, the constitutional amendment was approved Tuesday 57 percent to 43 percent.
   
One would be in the Southern Tier near Binghamton, two in the Catskills and Mid-Hudson Valley region, and another in the Saratoga Springs-Albany area. A New York City casino would be built in seven years, although some casino operators say the law could allow for a New York City casino sooner.
   
ADIRONDACK LAND SWAP
New York voters have approved a proposition to give up the state's claim to the property of 216 private and public landowners in the Hamilton County hamlet of Raquette Lake.

The landowners have been vexed with disputed property titles since the 1800s, when a series of clerical errors left it unclear if the state or the landowners had title.
   
Under Proposition 4, the state will release its claim to the parcels in return for undeveloped land elsewhere, with the landowners paying fees to cover the new acquisition.
   
The parcels include private homes, businesses, a school, firehouse, waste transfer station and marina.
   
The Department of Environmental Conservation has recommended that the state Legislature target the historic Marion River Carry for acquisition. It's part of a canoe route that connects Raquette Lake and Blue Mountain Lake in the central Adirondacks.
   
ADIRONDACKS-MINE
   
New York voters have approved a proposal for an Adirondack mineral company to expand its Essex County pit mine onto 200 acres of state-owned land in exchange for 1,500 acres elsewhere.
   
NYCO Minerals Inc. says it will restore the 200 acres and return it to the state in about 10 years, after it blasts out the wollastonite, a mineral used in ceramics, plastics and paints. The company will also give the state 1,500 acres including mountain peaks and trout streams.
   
Proposition 5 had strong support locally, where the company employs about 100 people, but it split environmental groups.
   
The Sierra Club and Protect The Adirondacks said it would set a bad precedent. But the Adirondack Council said the 1,500 acres are worth far more ecologically and recreationally than the 200 acres.
   
SEWAGE FACILITIES INDEBTEDNESS
   
NY voters say yes to localities borrowing more
   
New York voters have approved a proposition that allows local governments to borrow beyond their legal debt limits for another 10 years to accommodate sewer facility projects.
   
With New York's decades-old sewer system in the midst of a major overhaul and tax bases dwindling, Tuesday's vote on Proposition 3 gives localities more flexibility.
   
Localities have debt limits based on their budgets and the revenue they can raise by taxes. The idea is to make sure taxpayers can afford the multimillion dollar sewer projects.
   
Supports say raising the limit for another 10 years is for the public good and essential for growth, even if it means more costs.
   
VETERANS BENEFIT
   
New York voters have approved a state constitutional amendment to ensure additional civil service credit to disabled military veterans appointed or promoted to a civil service position.
   
The constitution gives veterans additional credit on civil service exams of 5 points for an original appointment and 2.5 points for a promotion.
   
Disabled veterans get double those points.
   
However, veterans have been eligible for only one grant of additional credit.
   
The amendment creates an exception for veterans who are certified disabled after getting the initial, smaller veterans' credit, pushing them up to 10 points altogether for either an initial appointment or promotion.
   
OLD JUDGES

Judges won't remain on the state's highest court and principal trial courts until 80 years old after voters rejected a referendum to raise the age limit a decade.
   
That would have postponed mandatory retirement for four of the seven judges currently on the Court of Appeals, who are appointed to 14-year terms.
   
State Supreme Court justices, who are elected to 14-year-terms, can now get three two-year extensions beyond 70, provided they get a certificate that they're capable and needed by New York's overcrowded courts.
   
Approval would have allowed them five extensions.

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