Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count sees action as certified measures increase to 167
By Al Ortiz
The past week has been a busy one in the world of ballot measures, as Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count increased to 167 certified statewide questions in 36 states. Interestingly, an average of 210 ballot questions were on statewide ballots in the even-numbered years from 1990-2008. However, as the 2010 petition drive season draws to a close and state legislatures close up shop for the year, it seems likely that the number of ballot measures on the 2010 ballot will plateau and be as much as 20% lower than recent historical averages.
Upping the count this week was two ballot initiatives that were certified for the ballot on August 3, 2010 in the state of Missouri. The measures, certified by the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, were two of four initiatives that had turned in signatures by the May 2, 2010 deadline. The two measures placed on the ballot for voters included a measure to allow Kansas City and St. Louis to hold a referendum on keeping earning tax levies in 2011 and every five years thereafter. If the levy is rejected by voters the tax would be phased out and could not be reinstated. The second measure certified for the fall will allow voters to decide on whether to adopt new rules for dog-breeders, including capping the number of dogs that are used for breeding purposes, require resting periods between breeding and establish other requirements. If enacted, dog-breeders would only be able to have 50 breeding dogs and would require them to feed those animals daily and regularly.
Another measure added to this week’s count was South Carolina’s rainy day amendment, which will ask voters come November if it should be required that the state keep more money in its rainy day fund. The next measure added to the ballot came from west of the Mississippi River, as the Oregon Secretary of State certified the Oregon lottery fund initiative. The measure will now let voters weigh in on whether or not to dedicate 15 percent of lottery proceeds for parks, beaches and other natural resources and their protection beyond 2014. In addition, a lawsuit has hit the state, as after hearing from election officials that the Oregon Job Growth Education And Communities Fund Act, Part I had fallen short of enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, its backers said they would file a lawsuit against the Oregon Secretary of State. Rounding out the added measures this week is a measure added in Washington, where a tax law repeal initiative will leave voters with the decision to reverse certain 2010 amendments to state tax laws.
The past week did not just see measures added to ballot, as one Florida measure, which was already certified for voters to decide, was removed from the ballot, due to a filed lawsuit against the wording of the measure. The statewide question would have asked voters whether or not to ban any laws that require people to participate in a health care system. Circuit Judge James Shelfer stated that the measure, Amendment 9, would confuse voters with its wording, stating that the summary was “manifestly misleading” and that registered voters in the state “would have a false understanding of what they were voting on.” This leaves the state with three previously certified ballot measures that were removed from the ballot due to court order.
In petition drive deadline news, Colorado’s initiative process saw some interesting happenings, as sponsors for only two measures filed signatures by the August 2, 2010 deadline, while a total of 98 initiatives had been proposed and filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. Supporters for the Criminal Defendant Bail initiative turned in signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State's office by the August 2, 2010 petition drive deadline.
The other initiative, the proposed Healthcare Amendment measure, filed signatures on Friday, July 30. The signatures were filed by Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute. Caldara said of the initiative, "We want Colorado to be a sanctuary state for quality health care. This is not just to address the mandate in Obama-care, this is to make sure Colorado never becomes like Massachusetts where government puts a gun to your head and says you will buy a private product whether you want it or not."
The Secretary of State's office will now check the validity of both petitions' signatures. Supporters must have collected at least 76,046 signatures from registered voters in the state in order for their initiative to make the ballot.
Finally, in Arizona, five initiatives hoping to repeal the recently signed immigration law failed to collect enough signatures by the July 28, 2010 deadline. The immigration law, signed on April 23, 2010 by Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer, makes illegal immigration a crime in Arizona and mandates that state and local police question a person's immigration status if there were any suspicions that they were illegal immigrants. Because the measures were veto referenda, the petition efforts must have gathered 76,682 signatures from registered voters in the state by 90 days after legislative session ended. Some initiatives were filed more than once, which led by the total number of five.
- August 3 - Missouri Healthcare Freedom, Proposition C
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