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Ballotpedia's 2012 Regional Ballot Measure Breakdown Series: Northwest region

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October 19, 2012

Edited by Al Ortiz

Editor's note:This is the first in a seven part series. The Regional Breakdown series will be published every Wednesday and Friday leading up to the November 6 general election.

Northwest Region, UNITED STATES: The clock is ticking down and time is dwindling until the big day arrives for voters all over the United States of America. With plenty of ballot items for voters to make their decision on, every piece of information and every detail counts for voters to inform themselves before going to the polls.

With that in mind, Ballotpedia begins this year's regional ballot measure breakdown series. Originally started in 2010, when 184 measures graced statewide ballots in 38 states, the breakdown series reviews ballot measures by region. This year, there are 188 ballot measures on the ballot in 39 states, with 176 of those measures set to be decided on November 6 in 38 states.

Ballotpedia divided the nation up into six regions in 2012: Northwest, Southwest, South Central, Midwest, Northeast and Southeast. In each report you will find what measures are on your state's ballot, and what proposed amendments or statutes your surrounding area will vote on, which may or may not have an impact on future ballots in your state or area.

This week, we begin with the Northwest part of the United States, where political issues are vast and include a wide range of topics. The states that Ballotpedia has included in the Northwest region are: Alaska, Idhao, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

Below is a breakdown of how many statewide measures are on the ballot in the Northwest and how that compares to 2008 and 2010, followed by summaries of each state.

Next week's Regional Breakdown - Southwest ballot measures

Overview

BallotpediaNorthwest.png
State Number of measures in 2008 Number of measures in 2010 Number of measures in 2012
Alaska 5 5 4
Idaho 0 4 5
Montana 3 4 5
Oregon 15 11 9
Washington 3 9 8
Wyoming 2 0 3
Totals: 28 33 34

Alaska

Nothing major in terms of formal campaign is occurring for Alaska ballot measures in 2012. With an August 28 primary that featured two citizen-initiated measures that turned plenty of heads in the state, two under-the-radar measures at the bottom of the ballot this November are still significant in terms of how the state is run and the state's economy. Ballot Measure 1 is a state question to keep an eye on, as the measure would create a convention to revise, alter or amend the state constitution.

The following are quick facts about Alaska state ballot measure information:

  • Initiative and referendum state: Yes
Alaska
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 47%

Ballot measure notes:Pencil.png

  • Alaska residents haven't rejected a bonding proposition this century. In 2002 alone, all three bonding propositions were approved.
  • The last constitutional convention question to be "approved" by voters was in 1996 in Hawaii. However, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that blank votes be counted as "no" votes, therefore leaving the question as rejected. The last time a constitutional convention question was on the Alaska ballot was in 2002. That measure was defeated.

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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What people are saying

Approveda Support of Alaska Ballot Measure 1 in Alaska Official Election Pamphlet:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

The risks of corruption in government have risen. You know the examples. The attorney general may be conflicted or preoccupied. A constitutional amendment can create a quasi-judicial office of Inspector General with the duties of overseeing ethical performance of government, election management, redistricting and other duties, which do not easily fit under executive control. Your permanent fund dividend is not in the constitution. It needs protection as politicians may seek other uses for the money and sustainable standards for its size. The fund itself has no stated purpose. A convention can define the “rainy day” that allows legislative expenditures. Standards for the use of its income can be set. Part of its income can be committed to expand the existing constitutional right to K-12 education to include a preschool year with participation by private institutions.

Defeatedd Opposition of Alaska Ballot Measure 1 in Alaska Official Election Pamphlet:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

A constitutional convention would have plenary powers to amend or revise our Constitution. In other words, the entire Constitution would be open to change. This could put the Constitution at risk with unlimited and unpredictable amendments being proposed by special interest groups. The convention could be slated toward special interest rather than the good of the general public.

Idaho

Idaho

Idaho saw plenty of action in the veto referendum process in 2012 - action that leaves the fate of the state's education system in the hands of the voters. Three major referendums were circulated this past year, targeting three laws that were passed in the 2011 state legislative session regarding education reform in the state. The Idaho Education Association was behind the veto referendum process to place these measures on the ballot for a public vote. Advocates of the legislative bills' passage include Idaho Governor Butch Otter and State Superintendent Tom Luna.

Also on the ballot is HJR 2, which would would add to the Idaho Constitution the right to hunt, fish and trap in the state.

The following are quick facts about Alaska state ballot measure information:

  • Initiative and referendum state: Yes
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 85%

Ballot measure notes:Pencil.png

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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  • Proposition 1 - Referendum to approve or reject legislation limiting negotiated agreements between teachers and local school boards and ending the practice of issuing renewable contracts.
  • Proposition 2 - Referendum to approve or reject legislation providing teacher performance pay based on state-mandated test scores, student performance, hard-to-fill positions and leadership.
  • Proposition 3 - Referendum to approve or reject legislation amending school district funding, requiring provision of computing devices and online courses for high school graduation.
  • HJR 2 - Would allow for a general obligation bond to be issued for the purpose of transportation projects in the state. The general obligation bond would not exceed $453,499,200.
  • SJR 102 - Would create a convention to revise, alter or amend the state constitution.

What people are saying

Approveda Tom Luna, state superintendent, defending and supporting Senate Bill 1108, one of the three pieces of education legislation up for a vote:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

We had a system where it was almost impossible to financially reward great teachers and very difficult to deal with ineffective teachers. If you want an education system that truly puts students first, you have to have both.

Defeatedd Idaho Education Assocation President Sherri Wood on opposing the three pieces of education legislation up for a vote:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Basically this so-called reform is nothing more than sending the responsibility to the districts to say we get to cut a whole bunch of things in order to fund technology and a pay-for-performance plan.

Montana

Montana

Montana's ballot is full of issues that are circulating around political media outlets around the country. Residents in the state have a ballot lineup slated with topics ranging from abortion to immigration to health care to marijuana to campaign financing. When all is said and done, Montana voters will have to chime in on five ballot measures, two of which were placed on the ballot via citizen initiative. There isn't only just one or two ballot measures to watch in this state, as all five have their own controversy surrounding each of them.

The measure that seems to be getting a good portion of attention is I-166, which would determine state policy on prohibiting corporate contributions and expenditures in state and national elections. The measure seeks to charge state lawmakers with furthering the state's policy on the matter and ask congressional delegates to support efforts to overrule the Citizens United decision by amending the U.S. Constitution.

The following are quick facts about Montana state ballot measure information:

  • Initiative and referendum state: Yes
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 67%

Ballot measure notesPencil.png

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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  • LR-120 - Relates to parental rights in the act of a minor's abortion, where parents would be notified before the process would take place.
  • LR-121 - Require proof of citizenship in order for a person to receive certain services provided by the state.
  • LR-122 - Would allow residents in the state the choice to decide if they want health insurance or not, and which health insurance to buy if they choose to do so.
  • IR-124 - Places a legislative revision of an approved 2004 medical marijuana measure to a vote, instead of making it a law automatically.
  • I-166 - Would determine state policy on prohibiting corporate contributions and expenditures in state and national elections.

What people are saying

Approveda Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Foundation, on the absence of parental notification in the state:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

From our perspective, this is a case where the government has placed itself squarely between parents and children, and prevented parents from protecting their children.

Defeatedd Julianna Crowley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Montana, on how conflicts with parents don't compare with the fear of being young and pregnant:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Young women don’t kill themselves because they have to ask a parent for a Tylenol.

Oregon

Oregon

Oregon's ballot measure count, like most even-numbered election years in the state, is at a high number with nine ballot measures facing voters this November. In all, two were referred to the ballot by the Oregon State Legislature, with the rest coming via the citizen initiative process in the state.

The two legislative referrals on the ballot deal with administration of government, with one measure seeking to revise responses to catastrophic disasters. The other referral, Measure 78, changes terminology in the state Constitution for the three state gov't branches. The seven citizen initiatives on the ballot range from topics like marijuana to gambling to taxes, with two gambling measures garnering a lot of attention in the state. Measure 82 amends state constitution to authorize privately-owned casinos, while Measure 83 authorizes a single privately-owned casino in Multnomah County.

Another measure to watch this year in Oregon is Measure 85, which seeks to allocate the corporate income and excise tax "kicker" refund to the General Fund to provide additional funding for K through 12 public education.

The following are quick facts about Oregon state ballot measure information:

  • Initiative and referendum state: Yes
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 46%

Ballot measure notesPencil.png

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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  • Measure 77 - Revision to responses to catastrophic disasters; requires approval by a 2/3rds majority.
  • Measure 78 - Changes terminology in the state Constitution for the three state gov't branches.
  • Measure 79 - Would ban real estate transfer taxes.
  • Measure 80 - Would create a cannabis commission to regulate the cultivation and sale of cannabis.
  • Measure 81 - Bans Columbia River commercial salmon fishing with gillnets by non-tribal persons, allows seine nets instead.
  • Measure 82 - Authorizes establishment of privately-owned casinos.
  • Measure 83 - Authorizes Multnomah County casino.
  • Measure 84 - Phases out estate and inheritance taxes.
  • Measure 85 - Allocates corporate income/excise tax "kicker" refund to additionally fund K through 12 public education.

What people are saying

Approveda Measure 81 supporter David Schamp, chairman of the Oregon Coastal Conservation Association chapter's board of directors:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Oregon's failure to protect and enhance our wild salmon runs threatens the state's credibility as a leader in sustainability. Each year, taxpayers, electric utility rate payers and others collectively contribute about $1 billion to recovery efforts, yet wild salmon, an important natural and economic resource for our state, remain on the brink of extinction.

Defeatedd Measure 81 opponent Cary Johnson, spokesperson for Salmon For All:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

It would put Oregon fishermen out of business and allow Washington fishermen to continue business as usual.

Washington

Washington

Washington is one of the rare states in the country where ballot measures will appear on both odd-numbered year and even-numbered year ballots. The Washington 2012 ballot not only has eight measures on the ballot, but it also has a diverse number of issues. This hodgepodge ballot has citizen initiatives, legislative referrals, veto referendums and advisory questions that has the ballot measure world stirring in the top left corner of the country.

Starting with Referendum 74, the measure asks voters if same-sex marriage should be legalized in the state of Washington. Those who were against a legislative bill - Senate Bill 6239 (and HB 2516, its counterpart in the state House) - that would legalize same-sex marriage argued that the question should be put to a public vote, therefore began the veto referendum process to put the issue before voters.

Initiative 1185 would require either two-thirds legislative approval or a vote by the people in order to raise taxes. Therefore, a one third minority of Legislators in either House of the Washington State Legislature could prevent the passage of any measure to raise revenue or repeal existing tax exemptions. The measure defines repealing a tax exemption as raising revenue. It only takes a simple majority to pass a tax exemption but under the proposal, a two thirds majority of both Houses of the legislature would be required to repeal it.

Finally, Initiative 1240 would allow 40 public charter schools in the state over the next five years. Charter schools are public schools that independently operate away from local school districts. They are run by a performance contract that requires valid proof of academic improvement within that school. According to reports, Washington is one of eight states that does not have charter schools.

The following are quick facts about Washington state ballot measure information:

  • Initiative and referendum state: Yes
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 64%

Ballot measure notesPencil.png

  • Washington voters rejected previous charter school initiatives in 1996, 2000 and 2004.
  • With two advisory questions on the ballot, voters in the state will cast a "yes" or "no" vote, but since they are non-binding questions, the outcome of the ballot question will not result in a new, changed, or rejected law or constitutional amendment. Rather, the advisory question symbolically makes heard the general opinion of the voting population in regard to the issue at hand.

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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  • Initiative 1185 - Would require either two-thirds legislative approval or a vote by the people in order to raise taxes.
  • Initiative 1240 - Would allow 40 public charter schools in the state over the next five years.
  • Referendum 74 - Asks voters if same-sex marriage should be legalized in the state of Washington.
  • Initiative 502 - Would legalize the production, possession, delivery and distribution of marijuana.
  • SJR 8221 - Would include the recommendations of the Commission on State Debt regarding the debt limit.
  • SJR 8223 - Would provide clear authority to state research universities to invest funds.
  • Advisory Vote 1 - Asks voters whether they would want to improve the long-term sustainability of the state budget by tweaking certain state taxes.
  • Advisory Vote 2 - Asks voters whether they would want to delay the expiration of the pollution liability insurance agency's funding to July 1, 2020.

What people are saying

Approveda Charles Mandigo, former Special Agent in Charge of the Seattle FBI office, speaking on Initiative 502:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

I do not support or condone the use of marijuana. Rather, I think it is time for us to try a regulatory approach that frees criminal justice resources for more appropriate priorities and strikes a better cost-benefit balance than the strategy we’ve been pursuing for the past forty years.

Defeatedd Initiative 502 opponent Rob McKenna, Washington Attorney General:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

I oppose it and think it’s going to fail at the ballot...Once we open the door to all kinds of marijuana, with use by all kinds of people, medical marijuana users will be swept up.

Wyoming

Wyoming

Wyoming will flock to the polls this November to see triplet ballot measures on the ballot, with two that may stick out to residents in the state.

Beginning with Amendment A, which plays somewhat into the presidential race sweeping the country, according to the proposed amendment, "No federal or state law, rule or administrative decision shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system."

The measure is an attempt to block the Affordable Healthcare Act that was signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010 from taking effect in the state.

Amendment B would preserve citizens' rights to hunt and fish in the Wyoming Constitution, according to the text of the measure. Measure C allow district court commissioners to act even if the district court judge is present and even if the district court judge could properly hear the case.

The following are quick facts about Wyoming state ballot measure information:

  • Initiative and referendum state: Yes
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 64%

Ballot measure notesPencil.png

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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  • Amendment A - Prohibit mandatory health care participation from federal law.
  • Amendment B - Allow the right to hunt and fish in the state constitution.
  • Amendment C - Would allow district court commissioners to act even if the district court judge is present and even if the district court judge could properly hear the case.

What people are saying

Approveda Amendment B supporter, State Sen. Larry Hicks:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

There seems to be a perception that this type of [hunting limitation] would never happen here in Wyoming. But that is the same thing people said in Oregon, Washington or Colorado before it came up in those places.

Defeatedd Amendment B opponent Sen. Michael Von Flatern:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

I don’t perceive there being a threat to hunting as some other people might. And I don’t see a reason to alter our 120-year-old constitution to put this in there.

See also

Ballotpedia News

References