Voters Approve Two Changes To State Constitution | Connecticut Public Radio

Voters Approve Two Changes To State Constitution

Nov 6, 2018

State voters weighed in on two ballot questions Tuesday, and both constitutional amendments passed in a landslide.

First, voters agreed to amend the state’s constitution to create a “lockbox” for transportation money.

The transportation question came as Connecticut faces hundreds of millions of dollars in needed transportation infrastructure fixes.

The constitutional change now requires all state taxes and fees imposed for transportation needs to be spent on those purposes. That includes public transportation and improvements and maintenance of roads and bridges.

Some Republican lawmakers say they language isn't strict enough to prevent future raids.

Second, voters agreed to amend constitution to require the General Assembly to hold a public hearing before any state lands are sold, swapped, or given away.  Some of that land would need a two-thirds vote of both houses of the General Assembly in order to be sold.

Environmental and conservation groups pushed for the amendment. They say 270,000 acres of state-owned forests and parks are at risk under the current system, which allows the General Assembly to hand over ownership.

Eric Hammerling, executive director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, said “any measure short of a constitutional amendment could be circumvented or ignored” by lawmakers.

Connecticut last had a ballot question in 2014, when voters rejected a proposed amendment that could have allowed early voting.

This post includes information from the Associated Press.