The Tuesday Count: A west coast state shakes up weekly total with ballot certification
Edited by Al Ortiz
California has woken up what has been a steadily stable Tuesday Count, as the California Secretary of State certified signatures for a proposed initiative. The count rose from 59 to 60 ballot measures, with residents in the Golden State gaining a chance to weigh in on automobile insurance prices.
Sponsors of the measure submitted over 800,000 signatures to election officials in mid-November and on January 18, the secretary of state announced that the initiative had qualified for the ballot.
The proposal would allow insurers to offer discounts to new customers who can prove they were continuously covered by any licensed auto insurance company over the previous five years. These discounts are known as "persistency discounts" or "loyalty discounts" and under current California law, insurance companies can only offer them to existing customers.
The initiative, known as Initiative 11-0013, is similar to narrowly defeated Proposition 17, which was on the June 8, 2010 ballot. Unlike Proposition 17, #11-0013 exempts soldiers and those who have been unemployed for 18 months from paying more after a lapse in persistency.
The question joins three other initiatives already on the ballot, for an overall total of five ballot measures certified for a 2012 vote in California.
Last week's Tuesday Count reported that the Alaska petition drive deadline passed, with one initiative filing signatures. Next week, January 30 will mark the petition drive deadline for the state of Maine. Currently, there are six initiatives circulating signatures for the 2012 ballot. One initiative that is gaining plenty of attention is the same-gender marriage question.
That topic has a rich recent history in the state, as the current initiative will look to repeal a 2009 initiative that banned same-gender marriage. In short, the 2012 ballot measure's enactment would mean, for a second time, the legalization of same-gender marriage.
Legislatures seem to be as busy as their initiative sponsor counterparts, as legislative sessions are beginning to hit full stride. This past week, the New Hampshire House of Representatives, on January 18, voted 257-101 in favor of referring a proposed income tax measure to the 2012 ballot.
Currently the state of New Hampshire charges some personal income taxes: the gambling winnings tax that assesses a 10 percent levy on winnings of $600 or more and a 5 percent tax on dividends and interest. The measure is similar to a 2014 ballot proposal in Tennessee, which would explicitly prohibit the Tennessee General Assembly from levying, authorizing or permitting any state or local tax on personal income.
|Featured campaign quotes:|
|Oklahoma SQ 762 - Support|
| Speaker of the State House Kris Steele
|Oklahoma SQ 762 - Opposition|
| State Representative Jason Murphey
The term "personhood" is one that is becoming familiar with most states across the country. Multiple efforts are taking place, with the most recent springing up in the state of Kansas. While most are citizen initiatives, this particular measure is being supported by twenty-five state House members. The group planned to introduce the proposed ballot measure during 2012 state legislative session.
A 2/3rds vote in both chambers of the Kansas State Legislature is required to refer an amendment to the ballot. If the legislature approves of the amendment, the measure would appear on the November 2012 general election.
Legislative referrals are expected to be proposed in waves for the 2012 election. In 2010, the last even-numbered election year, 134 legislative referrals were on statewide ballots, with 95 (70.9%) being approved. Going further back, in 2008, 99 legislative referrals found places on statewide ballots.
To find the start and ends dates of state legislative sessions across the country, click here.
- Signatures filed, but...: A Massachusetts initiative that filed signatures by the petition drive deadline is now facing a lawsuit. The measure changes standards for public school teacher evaluations in the state. The lawsuit, filed by The Massachusetts Teachers Association with the state supreme court, complaint the proposal was in violation of the state constitution.
- One Giant step for sports betting?: The New Jersey State Legislature approved a bill that would allow the state Casino Control Commission to issue licenses to casinos and racetracks to accept bets on some professional and collegiate events, following the approval of 2011's Question 1. The approved amendment, however, remains pending due to the existing federal ban. As of January 23, 2012 two proposals were filed in the United States Congress advocating for sports betting in the state. The bills, coincidentally, came one day after the New York Giants, who play in New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, advanced to the Super Bowl.
|Proposals with recent activity|
- No tenure proposal in Missouri: A new proposal has been filed that would ban tenure for school teachers in the state. The initiative has not yet been cleared for circulation, however.
SPOTLIGHT:Florida Primary showcases local issues
Next Tuesday, the January 31, some residents in the state of Florida will have local issues to decide on along with their choice of Republican Presidential nominee. The two proposed charter amendments in Miami-Dade county have seen the most news attention. The first measure seeks to limit terms for commissioners and the second seeks to increase the time allowed to circulate petitions. County residents had been urging the charter review commission to propose more in-depth reforms, but the two amendments were all that gained approval for the ballot. Opponents to the measures cite that they do not go far enough, while those in favor note that at least the measures are a step in the right direction for the county. Other notable measures that will be decided are two slot machine questions in Gadsden and Washington Counties. Though the questions will still be asked, it is unlikely slot machines would be installed at the two proposed locations due to the Attorney General stating that slots cannot be installed without initial Legislative approval. Local charter amendments and property tax exemption questions for new businesses will also be voted on by residents.
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BALLOT LAW UPDATE
WI GAB seeks signature check extension: On January 20, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board asked a Dane County District Court for an extension to its 31-day window for checking recall petition signatures. On January 17, recall petitioners submitted 1.9 million signatures in recall efforts against the governor and against the lieutenant governor.
Virginia primary petition challenge (Update): On December 27, presidential candidate Rick Perry (R) filed suit, challenging Virginia's circulator residency requirement. However, on January 13, a US District Court threw out Perry's lawsuit on the grounds that it was filed too late. The court did, however, acknowledge that Perry would likely have prevailed on constitutional grounds. Perry appealed the decision, but the Fourth Circuit concurred with the lower court on January 17. Unlike the earlier ruling, the decision did not address the constitutionality of the requirement. Although Virginia does not permit voters to initiate statewide ballot measures, a ruling in another Virginia petition case has already had broader implications for ballot measure law.
- The 4th Circuit's full decision can be found here.
| 2012 ballot measures|
|Tuesday Count • 2012 Scorecard|
- Sacramento Bee, "Backers of California auto rate initiatives submit signatures," November 16, 2011
- Union Leader, "Legislature wants amendment to ban income tax," February 8, 2011
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- The Arkansas City, "Kansas House of Representatives members to propose abortion ban," January 17, 2012
- Berkshire Eagle, "Mass. teachers sue to stop ballot question," January 23, 2011
- Press of Atlantic City, "New Jersey sports-betting bill awaits Christie's signature," January 9, 2012
- Las Vegas Business Press, "New Jersey lawmakers OK bill to license casinos, tracks to take sports bets," January 16, 2012 (dead link)
- WSAW, "Elections Board Wants Extension for Recall Review," January 20, 2012 (dead link)
- Ballot Access News, "U.S. District Court Says Virginia Residency Requirement is Almost Certainly Unconstitutional, but Denies Injunctive Relief Because Lawsuit was Filed Too Late," January 13, 2012
- Ballot Access News, "Fourth Circuit Agrees with U.S. District Court, Says Perry Should Have Filed Lawsuit Sooner," January 17, 2012
- Ballot Access News, "Rick Perry Appeals Virginia Decision," January 14, 2012