Amendments on Nov. ballot

Sen. Ronnie Chance's picture

Our state and national constitutions are the foundations upon which our government was established. While the Constitution is a blueprint for how the government is organized, it also defines and protects the rights and liberties of individuals. That’s why the process to change the Constitution was made to be so difficult. Proposed changes must pass both the House and Senate by at least a two-thirds vote. The amendments then go to the people who vote to approve or reject the changes.

As you cast your vote in this year’s General Election, you will be asked to vote for or against five proposed changes to the state constitution. Each amendment was passed by the General Assembly during the 2010 legislative session, and will appear on the ballot for voter approval.

The following is a breakdown of each proposed amendment. I want you as voters to have the information necessary to decide what is in the best interest of our state and our people as you fulfill your very important role in this process.

Amendment One : Allows competitive contracts to be enforced in Georgia courts (HR 178)

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to make Georgia more economically competitive by authorizing legislation to uphold reasonable competitive agreements?”

Under this amendment, the General Assembly could permit the courts to enforce non-compete agreements, which are commonly used to ensure departing employees refrain from competing with the employer after their employment is terminated. Other examples include agreements between distributors and manufacturers, lessors and lessees and partnerships and partners.

Currently, Georgia’s constitution prohibits the General Assembly from authorizing contracts that would restrict competition, leading the courts to enforce only limited non-compete agreements.

The amendment also grants review powers to the courts in which they may limit the duration, geographic area and scope of prohibited activities that restrict or regulate competition to ensure the agreement is enforced only to a reasonable extent under the circumstances of the contract.

Amendment Two: Adds a $10 tag fee on private passenger vehicles to fund statewide trauma care expansion (SR 277)

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to impose an annual $10.00 trauma charge on certain passenger motor vehicles in this state for the purpose of funding trauma care?”

This amendment would place an additional $10 fee on license tag and vehicle registration payments, the proceeds of which would be placed in a trauma trust fund and used to maintain and expand the state’s trauma care network.

The fee would be imposed annually on each motor vehicle designed to carry ten or fewer passengers, including pickup trucks, motorcycles, sport utility vehicles and passenger vans. Any amount in the trust fund not expended at the end of a fiscal year would remain in the trust fund.

Amendment Three: Allows the State to execute multiyear contracts for long-term transportation projects (SR 821)

“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?”

This amendment would allow the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to enter into construction agreements without obligating the total amount of funds in a yearly budget. The DOT may extend a contract on a yearly basis, which allows them to dedicate only the necessary funds for that term period. These contracts would last no more than 10 years.

Amendment Four: Allows the State to enter into multiyear contracts for energy efficiency and conservation improvement projects (SR 1231)

“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 state agencies to enter into multiyear contracts with private vendors for energy efficiency or conservation improvement projects. These contracts would allow state agencies to incur debt and obligate payments beyond the funds available in their fiscal year budget. These contracts would last no more than 10 years

Amendment Five: Allows owners of industrial-zoned property to choose to remove the industrial designation from their property (HR 136)

“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?”

This amendment removes the requirement that real property must be located “on an island” prior to the owner filing a certificate to remove it from an industrial area and be annexed by an adjacent city. Georgia has only two industrial areas, located in Chatham and Jeff Davis counties. Because the land was established years ago under a “local constitutional amendment,” a practice the General Assembly no longer uses, a constitutional amendment is needed to annex the land parcel in question.

For additional information on the ballot questions, you can also visit the Secretary of State’s website at:

Thank you for your continued support. Please contact me if I may be of assistance at 770-969- 155 or at

[Sen. Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone) represents Senate District 16, which includes parts of Fayette, Monroe and Spalding counties and all of Lamar and Pike counties.]

Spyglass's picture
Joined: 01/28/2008
When in doubt, vote no....

I find it simpler that way.

Cyclist's picture
Joined: 05/15/2007
Amendment 2

Last year it was the Super Speeder Bill that was going to fund new trauma centers. So I have to wonder if the money collect for that was just thrown into the general fund and not used for its intended bucket. I wonder if the same thing will happen here.

Leadfeet, beware: SuperSpeeder law begins Jan. 1

Spyglass's picture
Joined: 01/28/2008
Collections aren't near what they thought..

It was in the AJC about a month ago.

Chris P. Bacon
Chris P. Bacon's picture
Joined: 02/28/2010
Amendment one legalizes "non-compete agreements"

Amendment One makes non-compete agreements enforceable by law within the state of Georgia. I find it interesting that whoever wrote this proposed amendment made it appear that a lack of enforceable non-compete employment agreements in Georgia were somehow making businesses in the state less competitive.

In any event, it's a very pro-employer, anti-employee bill.

SPQR's picture
Joined: 12/15/2007
Sen Chance &CPB

Non competitive agreements are contractual between an employer and employee. It is nothing short of amazing to see the arrogance in attempting to put someone in jail for breach of a civil agreement. Earth calling Georgia hello, hello, Oh well. never mind.

Chris P. Bacon
Chris P. Bacon's picture
Joined: 02/28/2010
Non-compete agreements

The AJC had a good synopsis of Amendment 1 last week

I hadn't realized that non-compete agreements in Georgia are currently unenforceable, as Georgia courts have ruled them to be unconstitutional.

MajorMike's picture
Joined: 10/20/2005
Business as usual

I agree with SPQR and CHR on Amendments 1,2, & 3. They're just a "business as usual" ripoff for the working taxpayer. Amendmend 4 is too vague and undefined to trust our "lawmakers" with but amendment 5 gives the property owner back some of his rights. Yep CHR, the real question here is who's getting paid off at what level.

This is beginning to sound like Fayette County government.

Thanks Ronnie for giving us warning about this.

cogitoergofay's picture
Joined: 04/11/2006
NOT taking a chance with Sen. Chance

NOT taking a chance with Sen. Chance...Sorry MajorMike, I think you were duped. Sen. Chance didn't warn us about these Constitutional Amendments nor did he endorse them. Instead, he took a publicly non-commital approach to more publicity.

Over the last 25 years I have seen far too many "Consitutional Amendments" that tied the hands of subsequent legislatures and courts. It has culminated with the Jack Smith "to hell with the voters" attitude as he has continued with the repudiated road to nowhere with full steam, now closing Sandy Creek Road for construction.

Once we elect public officials that (1) I inherently trust and (2) inherently trust that they actually KNOW what they are voting on, I plan on VOTING NO to all of these "Constitutional Amendments" and local option initiatives.

SPQR's picture
Joined: 12/15/2007

What. where's the amendment to reign in eminent domain?

Amendment 1 seems to have a funny odor for someone leaving one employer and seeking employment elsewhere. Wonder what lobby is behind this?

Whats with the tag fee? Why not just call it what it is, a tax? And why do we have a tag fee at all? The tag fee was originally for the actual cost of manufacturing your license plate and was(is) in addition to the annual tax.

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Joined: 04/23/2007
Senator Chance

Thanks for posting this, it is very informative.

Courthouserules's picture
Joined: 07/02/2010

The senator's words are gibberish to those who are not initiated!

Am I to understand that he is proposing that the cushie agreement that road contractors already have with the state be extended to where they can approve projects in advance of all the money being appropriated?

Could I get one of those to supply something to the state?

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