DATELINE VERMONT, OCTOBER 31, 2002--Voters next Tuesday can act on a proposed amendment to the state constituition that has broad ramifications for the arts community here in Franklin County, Vermont.
      The Vermont Constitution is the basic document of state governance, a body of rules that serves as the framework by which our laws are made and enforced. It takes a four year process to amend the state Constitution. A two-thirds majority of the Senate members proposed this amendment in 1998; it then received the concurrence of a majority of the members of the House of Representatives. A simple majority of the state Senators and a majority of the House of Representatives reapproved the amendment during the 2000-2001 biennium. It is now the duty of the General Assembly to submit the proposal directly to the voters of Vermont. If a majority of the voters voting approve the amendment, it becomes part of the Constitution of this State.
      The proposed amendment authorizes and requires certain public displays of art. You may want to turn younger readers away at this point. The following paragraphs are uncensored, adult in nature, and deal with spooky specters, gory mausoleums, and even devilish apparitions.
      The debate last year raised concerns about the phantom wraiths of painting, worries concerning fiendish photography, and goulish references to the local arts council.
      Proposal of Amendment to the State Constitution:
      "To see if the voters will amend the Vermont Constitution by amending 61 of Chapter 3 to read:
61 [Holiday Art]
Every Vermont adult shall be required, on or before October 31 of each year, to design or assist in designing one (1) original artwork filled with spooks, apparitions, and deviltry. The Town Clerk of record for each Town shall cause to be created an exhibition space and public assembly center for the showing and distribution of edible confections made of sugar and often with flavoring, filling, and/or decoration.

      If you favor the proposal, make a cross (X) in the square at the right of the word "YES" after the proposal.
      If you oppose the proposal, make a cross (X) in the square at the right of the word "NO" after the proposal.
      In case you, my gentle reader, think I have made this story up, I shall point out a genuine amendment that appears on Florida's ballot on Tuesday:
      #10 "....to prevent cruelty to animals and as recommended by The Humane Society of the United States, no person shall confine a pig during pregnancy in a cage, crate or other enclosure, or tether a pregnant pig, on a farm so that the pig is prevented from turning around freely, except for veterinary purposes and during the prebirthing period..."
      Trick or Treat.

After reading this editorial, you may think that your favorite arts writer has breathed a few too many oily paint fumes. Rest assured that

it is (about) October 31, and you have been fooled by the Great Pumpkin.

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