Two state amendments on ballot

Published 7:54 pm Friday, November 4, 2016

Everyone knows this is the year we elect a president. What many voters don’t know is we will also vote on two proposed constitutional amendments to Virginia’s constitution. The two amendments concern Virginia’s Bill of Rights and taxation and finance in Virginia.

1) “Should Article I of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization whereby (i) nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, (ii) membership to the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or (iii) the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any such enterprise?”

Vote YES — Virginia is now a “Right to Work” state and this would keep it that way. You would not have to be a union member to get a job with a company in this state. This will not stop you if you want to join one, but it would not be mandatory.

Vote NO — This could mean, at some point in the future in Virginia, you might have to join a union before you can get a job or to keep the job you have now. If you refuse to join the union, your employment could be terminated.

2) “Shall the Constitution of Virginia be amended to allow the General Assembly to provide an option to the localities to exempt from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel or emergency medical service personnel who is killed in the line of duty, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residents and has not remarried?”

Vote YES — A local government could decide to exempt the surviving spouse from paying property tax on the house they live in if their husband or wife was killed in the line of duty. It does not say they would be exempt, but only if the local government approves. Remarried spouses would not get this exemption.

Vote NO — The surviving spouse would continue to have to pay property tax if the husband or wife is killed in the line of duty.

I hope this makes the legal language clear. I know the Republican Party isn’t taking a stand on these questions, and I don’t think the Democratic Party is, either. If you would like more details on them, pick up information from your county registrar’s office. The handout is called “Proposed Constitutional Amendments.”

Mike Hankins is the chairman of the Lunenburg County Republican Party. His email address is