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

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November 2, 2012

Edited by Eric Veram

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

Southeast region, UNITED STATES:

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 38 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.

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

Last Regional Breakdown: Midwest region
Next Regional Breakdown - Northeast region

Overview

State Number of measures in 2008 Number of measures in 2010 Number of measures in 2012
Alabama 6 5 12
Florida 7 7 11
Georgia 3 6 3
Kentucky 0 0 1
South Carolina 3 4 1
Virginia 0 3 2
Totals: 19 25 30

Florida

Florida

This year voters will see eleven measure on their ballot. All of these measures are legislatively-referred constitutional amendments, despite the fact that numerous citizen initiatives tried to make the ballot. Voters may notice that the final measure on the ballot is Amendment 12, this is because Amendment 7 was removed due an error in the measure language and then placed back the ballot as Amendment 8.

Several measures are worth highlighting due to either their relation to national issues or the amount of buzz they have stirred up in the state. The first is Amendment 1, an amendment that seeks to lessen the impact of the Affordable Care Act in the state by counteracting the individual mandate and other provisions of the law. Even if the amendment passes, however, it may prove to be merely a symbolic act due to the supremacy of federal law.

Amendment 6 is another highly debated measure, one that would prohibit public funds from being spent on any abortion procedure or health-benefits coverage that includes the coverage of abortions except as required by federal law and to save the mother's life. Supporters of the amendment include a lengthy list of state politicians and religious organizations who argue that using public money to pay for abortion operations is morally wrong because not all taxpayers support the practice as a legal medical procedure. Opponents argue that the amendment intrudes on the private life of Florida citizens. They argue that public employees should be allowed to have the same health insurance coverage as everyone else, not coverage dictated by the legislature's moral values.

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

  • Initiative and referendum state: Yes
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 84%

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  • In order to pass, amendments in Florida require a 60% majority approval.
  • Florida voters have decided on ballot measures every even year since 2000.

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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  • Amendment 1 - Prevents penalties for not purchasing health care coverage in order to comply with federal health care reforms.
  • Amendment 2 - Allows for property tax discounts for disabled veterans.
  • Amendment 3 - Replaces existing revenue limits with a new limitation based on inflation and population changes.
  • Amendment 4 - mends commercial and non-homestead property taxes.
  • Amendment 5 - Gives the Legislature increased control over the judicial branch.
  • Amendment 6 - Prohibits public funds for abortions.
  • Amendment 8 - Repeals ban of public dollars for religious funding.
  • Amendment 9 - Authorizes the legislature to totally or partially exempt surviving spouses of military veterans or first responders who died in the line of duty from paying property taxes.
  • Amendment 10 - Would make it a felony to maliciously harm a cat, dog, or horse, with exemptions for people with occupations involving animals.
  • Amendment 11 - Authorizes counties and municipalities to offer additional tax exemptions on homes of low-income seniors.
  • Amendment 12 - Revises selection process for student member of Board of Governors of State University System.

What people are saying

Approveda Randy Armstrong, president of Citizens for Protecting Taxpayers and Parental Rights, said the following in support of Amendment 6:

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

We are asking Florida voters to Say Yes on Amendment 6 to prohibit taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions. Let me be clear: this is not a call to deny access to abortion for anyone, but simply to say that a private act shouldn’t be a public expense – that taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for abortion in Florida.

Defeatedd Judith Selzer, a member of the Vote No on 6 campaign, said the following in opposition to the measure:

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

Every woman deserves to make her own personal decisions based on her values and her doctor’s advice without politicians interfering.

Alabama

Alabama

A grand total of eleven constitutional amendments will appear for approval or rejection by Alabama voters this year. Since the state is not an initiative and referendum state, each one of the measures was placed on the ballot by the state legislature. The proposed amendments cover a broad array of topics, including the federal health car mandate, union voting, and legislative salaries. One amendment, however, is particularly interesting because it seeks to address the state's past and its reputation to some people.

This amendment appears as number four on the ballot and is known as the Segregation Reference Ban. If passed, the measure would remove language from the Alabama Constitution that references segregation by race in schools. The measure would also repeal Section 259, which relates to poll taxes. Though supporters see the amendment as a step forward in addressing Alabama's history as a slave state, opponents say there are issues not with what the amendment removes form the constitution, but with what it doesn't remove. Charles Miller, of the Secular Coalition for Alabama, says the amendment should be opposed because it leaves the following line int he state constitution: ."..but nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense..." This line, he says, should be repealed as well because it could be used to end public education outright in the state.

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

  • Initiative and referendum state: No
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 67%

Ballot measure notesPencil.png

  • This year marks the most measures to appear on an Alabama ballot since the 2000 general election, in which there were fourteen.
  • In Alabama, a state constitutional amendment is required to pass any local county laws.

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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  • Amendment 1 - Extend payments made to the Forever Wild Land Trust for a 20-year period.
  • Amendment 2 - Aims to allow issuance of general obligation bonds of no more than $750 million.
  • Amendment 3 - Would define the Stockton Landmark District within Baldwin County.
  • Amendment 4 - To remove references to segregation of schools in the state constitution.
  • Amendment 5 - Transfer liabilities to Mobile Area Water and Sewer System.
  • Amendment 6 - Would prohibit mandatory participation in any health care system.
  • Amendment 7 - Would allow for the use of secret ballots in union votes.
  • Amendment 8 - Provide that the compensation paid to legislators do not increased during term of office.
  • Amendment 9 - Allows legislature to implement business privilege tax on corporations.
  • Amendment 10 - Relating to authority of state legislature and banking in the state.
  • Amendment 11 - Prohibit any municipality outside of Lawrence County from imposing any municipal ordinance.

What people are saying

Approveda Alabama State Senate Arthur Orr said the following in support of Amendment 4:

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

It’s important to address this issue and show that Alabama is a much different place than it was in the past...The last time, the national news reported that Alabama had failed to reject segregation. It played into all the negative stereotypes of our state.

Defeatedd Charles Miller, of the Secular Coalition for Alabama, said the following of Amendment 4:

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

The Secular Coalition for Alabama lobbied in opposition to SB112 because of provisions in the bill that are not included in the ballot language. Specifically, the proposed amendment removes the right to an education for Alabama's children: '..but nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense..' To be clear, the no right to education "poison pill" language is a vestige of the Amendment that introduced the racist language in the first place. We want those provisions removed too, since they can still be used against children in Alabama and even to end public education.

Georgia

Georgia

This fall Georgia has two legislatively-referred constitutional amendments on the ballot, and, unlike the vote in July, both are fully statewide. Both amendments focus on granting additional powers to the state legislature, but one in particular has attracted a fair amount media attention.

That measure, Amendment 1 on the ballot, allows the state to approve charter school requests that have been denied by local school boards. This measure is a legislative response to a 2011 Georgia Supreme Court ruling declaring that the Georgia Charter School Commission was unconstitutional. It is because of this ruling that supporters say the amendment is necessary. In addition, supporters say that charters are good for the education system because it provides competition for traditional public schools. Opponents, however, say that another bureaucratic board that transfers local control of education to the state level is unhealthy for the public education system.

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

  • Initiative and referendum state: No
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 77%

Ballot measure notesPencil.png

  • This year marks the shortest Georgia ballot, in terms of statewide questions, since 2004 when there were also only two.
  • Georgia voters have answered ballot question every even year since 2000.

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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  • Amendment 1 - Regarding the establishment of public charter schools.
  • Amendment 2 - Gives the State Properties Commission the authority to enter into multiyear lease agreements.

What people are saying

Approveda Kyle Wingfield, a columnist for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said Amendment 1 is:

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

Key to improving the system, rather than merely pouring more money into it, is restoring the state’s ability to approve charter schools.

Defeatedd Georgia State Schools Superintendent Dr. John Barge opposes the measure, saying:

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

I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education. What's more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases).

Kentucky

Kentucky

Voters in Kentucky will have to answer only a single ballot question next week. That measure, House Bill 1, is actually one of a number of measures across the country related to hunting rights.

The measure, placed on the ballot by the state legislature, would add the personal right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, to the state constitution. Like supporters of similar measures in other states, people and groups in favor of the amendment say it is necessary to safeguard against possible future threats by animal rights groups. Opponents argue that there is no current threat to hunting rights in the state, some even go further to suggest that the amendment, and others like it, is being used by groups such as the NRA to solidify their political position.

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

  • Initiative and referendum state: No
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 100%

Ballot measure notesPencil.png

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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  • House Bill 1 - Would protect the right of residents to hunt and fish in the state.

What people are saying

Approveda House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the following in support of the measure:

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

The real meat of this amendment to me is that it guarantees that the wildlife herds and our fishery population will be controlled by wildlife management.

Defeatedd Evansville Courier-Press columnist John Lucas opposes the measure, saying:

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

Adding an amendment to the constitution won't bring back the good ol' days. If we Kentuckians really want to protect hunting, we would encourage the state as some others do to pay landowners to preserve habitat and allow access. We would also demand the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manage its recreation areas to provide a variety of opportunities rather than catering to the deer hunting crowd. I'm going to vote no on the amendment, but it really doesn't matter one way or another. A paragraph in the constitution won't bring back the quail and rabbits or the fencerows, branch rows and meadows that sustained them. We would do just as well to add a lament for the buffalo.

South Carolina

South Carolina

Amendment 1 is the sole statewide ballot question appearing before voters in South Carolina this year. Though the measure has not received much press, it would make some interesting changes to the state's executive branch. Primarily, the measure requires that candidates for the office of governor choose a running mate for the office of lieutenant governor, this differs form the current system where they are elected separately. The measure would also make it so that the lieutenant governor no longer presided as president of the state senate. The senate would then elect its own president. If approved, these changes would not take effect until 2018.


The following are quick facts about South Carolina state ballot measure information:

  • Initiative and referendum state: No
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 80%

Ballot measure notesPencil.png

  • A constitutional amendment that would allow initiative and referendum in the state was actually proposed by the legislature but failed to make the ballot.
  • This year marks the fewest ballot questions South Carolina residents have seen on a ballot this century.

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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  • Amendment 1 - Require governor to select running mate for lieutenant governor.

Virginia

Virginia

This year two measures were passed on to the ballot by the Virginia State Legislature. One of these measure is a relatively low impact amendment regarding legislative sessions, but the other, having to do with eminent domain, is receiving a fair amount of press.

This amendment, which appears on the ballot as Question 1, would prohibit eminent domain from being used for private enterprise, job creation, tax revenue generation or economic development, thereby restricting it to only being invoked to take private land for public use. Supporters, which include the Virginia Farm Bureau, say the amendment helps define what public use is and, as a result, makes sure that more land is not taken from existing businesses than is necessary. Opponents, which include a number of local governmental bodies, say the amendment severely limits their ability to approve projects that would improve life for their counties and townships.

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

  • Initiative and referendum state: No
  • Ballot measure approval rating since 2000: 100%

Ballot measure notesPencil.png

  • Since 2000, Virginians have considered 14 ballot measures, all of which have passed.
  • The only election year this century in which the state did not see ballot questions was 2008.

The ballot lineup

November 6, 2012 ballot measures
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  • Question 1 - Would limit instances when private property could be taken for public use
  • Question 2 - Allows the legislature to delay the start of its veto session by up to one week.

What people are saying

Approveda Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who support Question 1, said that local governments:

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

despise the notion of individual rights that may ever impede anything they want to do. They're exactly the ones that need to be reined in.

Defeatedd The Virginia Municipal League issued this statement in opposition to the measure:

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

The amendment is unnecessary and will harm Virginia's citizens by severely limiting the ability of local governments and the state to carry out projects that help improve life for the commonwealth's population, due to the amendment's language on lost access, lost profits and the loss of eminent domain where economic development, increasing jobs and increasing taxes are involved.

See also

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References