Kentucky Constitutional Amendment 2
This constitutional amendment addresses two separate issues: (1) Lengthening the term of office of district court judges and of the commonwealth’s attorneys (2) Increasing the requirement for experience as an attorney to be a district judge. If you agree with both, then vote YES; if you disagree with both then vote NO. If you are not in agreement with BOTH issues presented, then you should consider whether your vote to change one issue is worth changing the unwanted issue. If not, then you should vote against both issues by voting NO. You cannot split the issues within this amendment. Constitutional Amendment 2 - Changing Terms of Office:· Increases the term of office of the commonwealth’s attorneys from six (6) years to eight (8) years starting in 2030· Increases the term of office of district court judges from four (4) to eight (8) years beginning in 2022PRO:This aligns the offices of prosecutors and judges to the same terms. KY Representative Jason Nemes (R ) “…many judges in our state have far too many cases while other judges in other jurisdictions have far too few cases. Aligning the prosecutors’ terms with the judges’ terms will make it easier to recircuit our courts to better balance our judicial resources.”KY Senator Robin Webb (D): In response to the argument that a longer term means less accountability, Webb said, "If you have a judge during that potentially eight-year term act egregiously or illegally or unethically, there’s a remedy outside of an election." CON:KY Senator Chris McDaniel (R ) “…lengthening the terms of judicial offices promotes the idea of less accountability for constitutional officers.”KY Senator Will Schroder (R), “...eight-year terms are really long for any judge … and for any elected official in Kentucky." Other means to accomplish the alignment of terms may be available. A series of scheduled retention elections could retain oversight without resorting to eight-year terms. Constitutional Amendment 2 - Eligibility Requirements for District Judges:· Increase the requirement for experience as an attorney to be a district judge from two (2) years to eight (8) years. PRO:Legislator quote in favor: “Experience matters and an attorney fresh out of law school is not ready to be a judge.” District judge quote in favor: “At a time when district judges face more and more responsibility and handle important issues like domestic violence, mental illness, and addiction, Constitutional Amendment 2 will benefit Kentuckians by 'raising the bar' for candidates to the district court bench. Our district judges must be prepared to handle a broad range of criminal and civil proceedings, including matters involving our most vulnerable citizens in juvenile, guardianship and mental health cases." CON: Eight years of experience may be excessive; four to six years would be sufficient. Compiled by League of Women Voters of Kentucky 10.22.2020
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