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Ballot Law Update: Semi-annual summary

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By Josh Altic

The first half of 2014 has seen a wide range of changes and attempted changes to ballot law across the nation, with some proposed laws seeking to expand the initiative and referendum process and others attempting to restrict it. For example, legislators in Georgia and eight other states proposed laws that sought to establish the power and process of initiative and referendum in state constitutions. Meanwhile, in Arizona, a controversial law proposed mandating that voters periodically reapprove any initiative or referendum that directs public expenditures or appropriations.

So far this year, state lawmakers have seen at least 113 laws concerning ballot measures during 2014's legislative sessions, of which 67 were carried over from 2013.

As of June 27, 2014, seven laws were approved and 33 were defeated.

This edition of the Ballot Law Update features a half-year roundup of laws, resolutions and bills concerning ballot measure and recall law. It highlights the laws that have been approved and defeated, as well as laws that could entirely change the dynamic of direct democracy on a statewide level.

The Ballot Law Update is released at the end of each month.

Ballot measure legislation breaking news

The Tuesday Count: New York's not-so-independent redistricting commission amendment

Edited by Ryan Byrne

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After a prominent controversy in 2013, New York state is, once again, at the center of the debate on the accuracy and importance of ballot measure language. Proposal 1 of 2014, also known as the Redistricting Commission Amendment, stated, "The proposed amendment establishes an independent redistricting commission..." Judge Patrick McGrath objected, saying there is nothing independent about the proposed commission, and that even the two non-legislatively picked members are "essentially political appointees by proxy."[1]

Meanwhile, Berkeley, California's proposed soda tax is coming under fire by the American Beverage Association, whose members include Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. The association contributed $500,000 to the campaign against the measure, the largest single contribution in the city's history.[2]

...more on ballot measure law

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