The Tuesday Count: Ballot measure total hits the century mark
Edited by Al Ortiz
A flood of ballot measures have bumped up the Tuesday Count this week, with five certifications making a splash in the ballot measure world.
The total number of statewide questions across the country has now changed to 102 measures in 32 states.
The Maine Legislature passed five measures during May, sending them to the governor for either approval for the ballot or veto. The governor made his final decisions late last week, rejecting only the research and development bond issue. That measure would have allowed for a $20 million research and development grant for science and technology in the state.
The measures that made the ballot included a proposal to allow for a $51 million transportation bond, most of it to pay for road and bridge repairs in the state; one to allow for an $11 million bond for higher education in order to expand the state's community college system and two measures, both dealing with state water and sewer projects.
According to reports, however, Governor Paul LePage stated that if the bond measures are enacted by voters during the November election, he would delay spending the money until the state lowered its debt. LePage stated after sending the four measures to the ballot: "While these bond proposals were authorized by legislators, it does not mean that we need to spend the money. I cannot personally support any of these bonds and will not vote for them at the polls in November. Even with the voters' authorization to borrow this money, my administration will not spend it until we've lowered our debt significantly. That could be several years."
Rounding out this week's certifications, Louisiana voters will face a newly certified measure this coming November. A proposed state legislatively-referred constitutional amendment has been placed on ballots near the bayou to protect the state's Medicaid trust fund for the elderly. According to reports, the measure would serve as a shield to potential budget cuts. The measure was sent to the ballot after final approval from the Louisiana House of Representatives on May 24.
In other news, there has been an election change for a ballot measure that was previously certified in Missouri. On May 23, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon decided to place the public prayer measure on the August 7 primary ballot. The proposal was placed on the earlier ballot due to its potential immediate implementation if enacted.
The measure would guarantee the right to pray and worship on public property and reaffirms a citizen's right to choose any or no religion.
Petition drive deadlines
The Michigan petition drive deadline is arriving this week on May 30. Initiative supporters will need to submit signatures to the Michigan Secretary of State's office at the end of business day; and a plethora of initiatives are in circulation. Among the notable citizen initiatives for potential statewide measures is a proposal for the establishment of casino gaming, one measure to legalize marijuana in the state for residents 21 and over, and another measure to add the right to collective bargaining for public and private sector employees to the state Constitution.
|Featured campaign quotes:|
|Oklahoma SQ 762 - Support|
| Speaker of the State House Kris Steele
|Oklahoma SQ 762 - Opposition|
| State Representative Jason Murphey
Signatures submitted for Oregon Initiative 5: On May 24 supporters of the Oregon Real Estate Transfer Tax Amendment submitted 163,278 signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State. The amendment prohibits any taxes or fees on real estate sales except those in place on December 31, 2009. Of the names submitted, 116,283 must be verified before the measure will appear on this year's ballot.
Poll released on North Dakota Measure 4: According to a poll conducted on May 3-8 by Forum Communications 56% of those surveyed would vote 'yes' on the North Dakota University "Fighting Sioux" Referendum, which means retiring the nickname, while 44% would vote 'No.' A total of 500 likely primary voters were polled. The margin of error was +/-4.3%.
Medical marijuana initiative submitted to Secretary of State in North Dakota: On Tuesday, May 22, State Representative Steve Zaiser submitted his 22-page Medical Marijuana Initiative to the Secretary of State. If the review is successful supporters will begin gathering the 13,452 signatures to place it on this year's ballot. The signatures are due to the Secretary of State by midnight August 8.
|Proposals with recent activity|
SPOTLIGHT:27 Californian counties to vote on local issues during Primary
Next week, June 5, 27 of California's counties will have 113 local issues to decide on, in addition to the two statewide questions. Of those measures, 40 will address school parcel taxes or bond questions. Some important issues which are up for a vote include pension reform in San Diego and an advisory vote about Coit Tower usage in San Francisco.
The San Diego pension question seeks to make changes to the current pension system in the city, in an attempt to reduce costs. If the measure is approved, changes to the system include a capped payroll at the 2011 level, lowering the max cap for newly hired public safety employees to 80% of their salary, new city workers would get a 401(k) matched by the city instead of a guaranteed pension and a provision in the city charter which would require a majority of city employees to vote and approve changes to retirement benefits. Those in favor say that the changes would reduce the costs of pensions in the city and protect taxpayers. Opponents note that the costs would not be significantly reduced with this measure and that benefits have already been scaled back and this would give even less benefits to those who need it.
The San Francisco measure is an advisory question, meaning the result would not be binding. The measure seeks to limit events and activities which take place at the Coit Tower. In addition, the proposal would make it that more money obtained from events be used to maintain the tower and the surrounding park area. Supporters of the measure have noted that the tower has not been kept up. Also, proponents say that money is not being put back into the building and also that murals that surround the building are damaged when money from events should be used to maintain and restore the building. Opponents note that the landmark is a popular event site and limiting use of it would hurt the city.
BALLOT LAW UPDATE
WA Lawsuit may be predicament for privatization: On May 17, the Washington Supreme Court heard arguments in a single-subject rule lawsuit against Initiative 1183 (2011). The initiative privatized Washington's state-owned liquor stores. Since the stores have already been sold, it is not clear how the state could reverse the law's implementation.
| 2012 ballot measures|
|Tuesday Count • 2012 Scorecard|
- Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count for 2010
- Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count for 2011
- Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count for 2012
- 2012 ballot measures
- Local ballot measure elections in 2012
- Potential 2012 ballot measures
- WMTW.com, "Lawmakers pass 5 bond proposals," May 17, 2012
- Press Herald, "Governor vetoes R&D bond, lets four go to ballot," May 26, 2012
- WWLTV.com, "Amendment on Nov. 6 ballot to protect Medicaid trust fund," May 25, 2012
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Oregonian, "Oregon Realtors turn in signatures for proposed ballot measure to ban new real estate transfer fees," May 24, 2012
- Forum Communications Co. "Majority in Poll: Retire Fighting Sioux Nickname," May 16, 2012 (dead link)
- Associated Press, "Fargo Lawmaker Heads Medical Marijuana Initiative In ND," May 22, 2012
- KUOW, "Wash. Supreme Court Hears Challenge To Liquor Privatization," May 17, 2012