One of Connecticut’s many nicknames is the "Constitution State", so named for the state’s adoption of the first state Constitution. (Delaware holds the distiction of the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution for those history buffs).
But on the ballot in two weeks is a question asking if the state should hold its first Constitutional convention in over 40 years. For employers and others, serious consideration should be given to the question and I suggest the Ct Votes No website for information on the reasons why voting "no" is a good idea.
Among the possible changes that could come about at a Constitutional convention — a voter referendum/ballot initiative law or elimination of same-sex marriages. But perhaps most troubling, constitutional convention delegates can propose anything without citizens or even our legislators having a vote in the final outcome. And when Constitutional Guru Wes Horton opposes it, you know something is troubling with the referendum.
The Connecticut Law Tribune’s Advisory Board (subscription required) has this editorial telling voters to vote no:
There is no similar circumstance in Connecticut in 2008. Without some overwhelming need for a constitutional convention, such a convention could easily be dominated by single-issue special interest groups. If zealous groups do not get what they want from the legislature or the governor or the courts, they could put the issue to the convention. ….
Stability and tradition and established rules must occasionally yield when a major upheaval in society creates a need for a new or radically reordered system. … The constitution currently in effect was created by the Constitutional Convention of 1965, called because the traditional legislative election system in Connecticut was clearly out of compliance with the federal one-person, one-vote requirement.
Representative democracy is messy, it can be slow, and it can be vulnerable to special interests, but it is not accidental that this country is a beacon in the world today in part because of the strength and stability of its political and judicial institutions. But a constitutional convention can trump all that. This is why such a convention should be called only when a crisis requires it. No crisis requires it, so voters should vote “No.”•
There have been several Connecticut and legal-related blogs discussing this including A Public Defender (here) and (here), the New Haven Independent with a great report (here).
For employers, this issue — on its face — may seem wholly unrelated to them. It’s not. One of the most likely outcomes of a Constitutional convention is a ballot initiative/voter referendum that again — on its face — seems innocuous as well. But a look at the issues on the ballots in other states shows that voters are being asked. For example, Colorado had various constitutional amendments on its ballot (later withdrawn) that would have, for example, protected all employees from termination except for "just cause".
For full information on how this upcoming election can affect state businesses, the CBIA’s website — www.ctbizvotes.com — is a great place to start. (For prior posts on election day issues for employers, see here and here.)