Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count reveals several social issues for 2011 ballots
By Bailey Ludlam
The end of the year is quickly closing in but that doesn't mean lawmakers or citizens have stopped planning for upcoming elections. On the contrary, already an estimated 20 proposals have been made for 2011 and 30 for 2012. According to Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count only three measures in Mississippi have been solidified to appear before voters in 2011.
Ballots this past year were heavy with fiscal and monetary issues but voters should expect to see a slight change in the upcoming years. Filed proposals for upcoming ballots cover a myriad of topics, including: gambling, marijuana, immigration, health care and marriage. The same trend has appeared for 2012.
In Rhode Island, for example, lawmakers have proposed defining marriage in the state as between one man and one woman. Related measures last appeared in 2009 in both Maine - repealed a new same-sex law - and Washington - upheld an expansion of domestic partnership rights.
In addition to possibly seeing an increase in social issues, other states are resurrecting measures that just barely missed deadlines for 2010. In Utah lawmakers may revisit the issue of affirmative action. In 2010, Rep. Curtis Oda proposed legislation that called for asking voters if language from the 1964 Civil Rights Act should be added to Utah's Constitution. However, the measure failed to reach the ballot. A similar measure has been proposed to the legislature in hopes of qualifying it for a vote in 2012.
Florida lawmakers are taking another shot at a possible health care amendment in 2012. In 2010, the legislature referred Amendment 9 was referred to the 2010 statewide ballot. However, the measure was removed from the ballot by court order on July 29, 2010. State Rep. Scott Plakon has refiled the proposed health care measure.
SPOTLIGHT: No translation needed, lawmakers make a clear push for English ballot measures
Oklahoma's State Question 751, which appeared on the November 2, 2010 general election ballot, won the approval of voters who sought to make English the official language of the state. The measure has since been met with a legal challenge that is currently ongoing but that doesn't mean others can't propose similar measures for future ballots. In both Texas and Maryland lawmakers are considering referring the issue to voters in either 2011 or 2012.
UPDATE: 87 approved constitutional amendments, now what?
An estimated 87 constitutional amendments have been approved and cleared by voters across the country; pending official vote counts. But when exactly do these changes go into effect? Ballotpedia took a closer look and discovered a variety of responses.
Of the 32 states that passed constitutional amendments during 2010, six of those states won't see any changes until 2011. The state that had the latest date for an amendment to be enacted was Louisiana, where Amendment 2's effective date is April 1, 2012. The second latest date was January 1, 2012 for Louisiana's Amendment 1 that appeared on the October 2 ballot. In third place, North Dakota's Measure 1 won't go into effect until June 30, 2011.
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