The Tuesday Count: Gambling at the forefront of ballot proposals in one state

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April 17, 2012

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Edited by Al Ortiz

Last week, four measures were certified for the ballot. This week, three more measures have been tacked on to the Tuesday Count, but under different circumstances. In total, 87 ballot measures are certified for spots across 30 statewide ballots.

A retroactive change occurred in Ballotpedia's total of certified ballot measures, as two statewide questions in Arkansas and Idaho were certified earlier this year. Both were legislative referrals.

Meanwhile, the state of Rhode Island will have a pair of casino questions ready for voters' say. On April 11, Governor Lincoln Chafee signed legislation to place the proposal on the ballot. Previously, on April 4, the state Senate voted 35-2 to place the measure on the ballot after the Rhode Island House of Representatives approved the measure.

The measure would authorize casino games at Newport Grand. It is similar to another casino amendment already on the ballot that would authorize casino games at Twin River. That measure will ask voters if they want state-operated casino gambling at the Twin River venue.

The proposal was a part of the $7.7 billion budget signed into law on June 30, 2011. More specifically, it was part of Article 25 of the budget known as H 5894.

Turning to the retroactive changes in the Tuesday Count, an Idaho legislatively-referred constitutional amendment was sent to the ballot on February 8 of this year. The measure, known as Senate Joint Resolution 102 would allow the State Board of Correction control, direction and management of adult felony probation and parole.

The other retroactive change was in Arkansas, where a measure was sent to the ballot before the end of 2012 state legislative session on March 13. The proposal would allow the State Highway Commission to issue bonds for highway needs. It is similar to a question that was on the 2011 statewide ballot.

Down near the bayou, the Louisiana Legislature has been working on a measure of their own. A Right to Bear Arms Amendment is currently being considered. The bill would fortify existing gun rights in the state. Specifically, it adds the rights to acquire, transport, carry, transfer, and use firearms in addition to the existing right to keep and bear them

As legislatures across the country are considering potential ballot questions, a family tandem in Colorado is asking residents to do the same.

A brother and sister tag-team, made up of Samuel Babcock and Elise Van Grinsven, has proposed four ballot measures recently. Each proposal was heard and approved by the Colorado Title Review Board, clearing the way for petition circulation. According to reports, the four ballot initiatives include one to eliminate property taxes, another to allow concealed handgun carrying without permit, a measure to restructure political primary elections, and finally an initiative to tweak state senatorial districts by county boundaries. According to reports, the siblings state they are not affiliated with a political party.

All four measures are initiated constitutional amendments. In order to qualify the initiative for the 2012 ballot in the state, supporters must gather 85,853 valid signatures by the August 6, 2012 petition drive deadline. Valid signatures must come from registered voters in the state.

Featured campaign quotes:
Oklahoma SQ 762 - Support
Speaker of the State House Kris Steele
Letting the governor focus on parole recommendations for violent crimes is a critical component of Oklahoma’s recent progress to build a stronger, more effective criminal justice system.[1]

Oklahoma SQ 762 - Opposition
State Representative Jason Murphey
When you take the governor out of [the parole] process [for non-violent crimes] the people of Oklahoma have no one to hold accountable...[1]

Quick hits

  • Lawsuit over N.D. property tax measure continues: Shortly after Judge Bruce Romanick threw out a lawsuit filed against opponents of Measure 2, supporters appealed the ruling to the North Dakota Supreme Court. Though he threw the case out, Judge Romanick did not rule on whether or not public officials were guilty of spending public money for political purposes, merely that any illegal spending was not a matter for private citizens to deal with, but rather local prosecutors should handle it. Lynn Boughey, attorney for the plaintiffs, said he would request the Supreme Court to resolve their appeal before the June 12 primary election.[3]

Proposals with recent activity


SPOTLIGHT:Eleven British cities may get chance to elect Mayors in the future
On May 3, eleven British cities will get the opportunity to vote on whether or not they would like the position of city mayor to be an elected position starting at the next election.

The eleven cities are: Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.

If residents in these cities approve the referendum, then a vote to elect their new mayor would be held on November 15. Winners would be elected to a four-year term. The referendum question was brought forth in May 2010 by the National government who sought to allow the residents of the eleven largest cities outside of London to have their say on who should govern them. Issues have arisen leading up to the elections. In Bristol the city made and sent out pamphlets informing residents about the vote, but many who were supposed to receive them never did. Claims of bias on the part of the city have made it harder for the city to get its money back for printing the pamphlets. Also, the lack of new faces running for these potential positions has also been brought up.

Though the ability to democratically elect a city mayor has been pushed as a way to increase accountability of the city government, commentators have noted that those running for those positions are just former parliamentary members.

Also today, April 17, residents in Washington will be holding elections on local ballot issues.

Check back here for results from April 17, 2012's elections.
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In less than one month, May 8, which state will have its primary election? Click here to find out!
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WI recall candidates challenged: On April 12, a group of Democratic voters filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, asking the Board to remove several "phony" Democratic legislative candidates from the recall ballot. The candidates were, admittedly, recruited by the Wisconsin GOP to run in the Democratic recall primaries. The voters charge that in order to run in the Democratic primary, the candidates had to make a series of false statements on official election documents.

In Wisconsin, recall elections are conducted as special elections where the targeted incumbent must campaign to keep his or her seat. Running the "phony" candidates forces the state to hold a Democratic primary, delaying the recall election. If no primaries were required, the legislative recall elections would be held concurrent with the May 8 Democratic gubernatorial recall primary. The gubernatorial primary is expected to draw large numbers of Democratic voters, disadvantaging the Republican legislative incumbents targeted for recall.[5]

  • The Democratic complaint can be found here.

Virginia replaces residency requirement: On February 8, Virginia's in-district residency requirement was overturned in Lux v. Judd. On April 4, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed HB 1133, officially repealing the statute and replacing it with a state residency requirement. A lawsuit has been filed relating to the new requirement, but it remains unclear whether the case will go forward or whether it will directly address the constitutionality of the requirement.[6]

CA bill to change who writes ballot titles: Sen. Jean Fuller has introduced a constitutional amendment, SCA 19, that would transfer the responsibility for writing ballot titles and summaries from the Attorney General to state legislative analyst. Fuller contends that the process would be better handled by a nonpartisan official. Attorney General Kamala Harris has been criticized for her handling of state ballot measures.[7]

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See also

2012 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2012 Scorecard