The Tuesday Count: Gun measure referred to Missouri ballot
Edited by Brittany ClingenMissouri voters may have to wait until as late as the August 5 primary election to find out whether two initiated constitutional amendments - one addressing education and the other elections - will appear on their November ballots, however, they know they will be casting votes on at least three legislatively-referred constitutional amendments, as yet another was certified for the November ballot last week. The Missouri Right to Bear Arms Amendment was referred to the November 2014 ballot by a vote of 122 to 31 in the House and a vote of 23 to eight in the Senate. If approved by voters, the measure would establish the unalienable right of citizens to keep and bear arms, ammunition and accessories associated with the normal functioning of such arms, for the purpose of defense of one’s person, family, home and property.
Furthermore, the amendment would allow the state to limit the possession of arms by convicted felons and those determined to be mentally ill. Currently, citizens have the right to bear arms in defense of home, person and property, but the right is not considered “unalienable.” The measure seeks to amend Section 23 of Article I of the Missouri Constitution in order to add this distinction. The amendment was sponsored in the Missouri General Assembly by State Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-19) as Senate Joint Resolution 36. The last time Missouri voters saw a measure addressing firearms on the ballot was in 1999 when voters turned down Proposition B, a concealed carry measure. The Right to Bear Arms measure joins two others currently certified for the ballot that address agriculture and criminal trials respectively.
Massachusetts measures inch closer to ballot
May 7, 2014, marked the deadline by which the Massachusetts legislative body, known as the Massachusetts General Court, had to either accept, reject or take no action on the seven initiated state statutes still in the running for the November ballot. No action was taken on any of the measures. Therefore, the original supporters of the measures must collect an additional 11,485 signatures and submit them to local registrars for certification by June 18, 2014. These signatures must then be filed with the secretary of state no later than July 2, 2014, in order to put the questions before voters. One of the seven measures, the Casino Repeal Initiative, is currently embroiled in litigation that has reached the state's supreme court. The measure seeks to repeal a 2011 law that allows resort casinos to operate within the state. However, Attorney General Martha Coakley believes the ballot question to be unconstitutional because the application fees paid by casinos for the prospective licenses represented a presumed contract. The court will ultimately decide whether the measure is fit to move forward toward the ballot.
|States:||Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming|
Michigan Republican seeks to render minimum wage initiative moot: Sen. Randy Richardville (R-17) introduced SB 934 into the Michigan Legislature on May 8, 2014. Sen. Richardville's proposal would raise the hourly minimum wage to $8.15 by repealing 1964's PA 154, also known as the "Minimum Wage Law of 1964," and establishing a new statute. Meanwhile, the Minimum Wage Initiative, sponsored by Raise Michigan, seeks to amend 1964's PA 154 to increase the minimum wage to $10.10. If Richardville's bill passes, the initiative, even if the ballot measure is certified and approved by voters, would change a law that no longer exists and thus do nothing. Bob McCann, spokesperson for Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-23), stated, "The legislation is very clearly designed to render the ballot initiate moot because you can’t amend a law that no longer exists." Danielle Atkinson of Raise Michigan also criticized the legislation, saying, "Clearly, conservatives are running scared and this is a last ditch effort to cheat Michigan workers out of a living wage." Sen. Richardville's spokesperson, Amber McCann, replied, "The legislation’s not designed to negate the ballot initiative. The legislation is intended to raise the minimum wage." However, Sen. Richardville, acknowledging what the legislation would do to the initiative, said, "If it wasn’t a situation I felt was critical, I’d let the (ballot initiative) process go along as it is. This is just too important."
Same-sex marriage may be on Michigan ballot in 2016: Michigan for Marriage, an organization dedicated to legalizing same-sex marriage in Michigan, has started planning a Same-Sex Marriage Initiative. The initiative would legalize same-sex marriage and overturn 2004's Proposal 2, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman in the Michigan Constitution. US District Judge Bernard Friedman overturned Proposal 2 on March 21, 2014. However, the state government appealed the ruling. The state cited Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the US Supreme Court's decision on the state's affirmative action ban, as precedent for a judicial ruling on same-sex marriage banned via direct democracy and majoritarian rule. A court ruling that upholds the lower court's ruling against Proposal 2, however, would cause Michigan for Marriage and same-sex marriage proponents to end their initiative campaign.
Wisconsin legislators may put changes to the state supreme court on the ballot in 2016: The Wisconsin Legislature passed, along partisan lines, a Supreme Court Chief Justice Amendment. The legislature will have to approve the amendment again during their next session in order to put the measure on the ballot. The measure, upon voter approval, would provide for the election of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice by a majority of the justices serving on the court. The justice would serve a two-year term. Wisconsin Democrats, however, believe that they may be able to take the state senate in the 2014 general election. Since the amendment did not gain bipartisan support, a switch in party control in either legislative chamber would likely thwart the amendment.
Notable local measures featured in next week's election in three states:
Pennsylvania: In Philadelphia, voters will decide next Tuesday whether to extend the city's minimum wage requirements for direct contractors to sub-contractors, as well, in a measure that could affect thousands of workers throughout the city. This measure, Proposition 1, was put on the ballot after extensive lobbying from the group called Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild (POWER). If approved, it would require the city worker minimum wage of $10.88 to apply to all sub-contractors, which includes many of the 141,000 employees at the Philadelphia International Airport. Moreover, on May 6, 2014, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter issued an executive order which raised the city worker minimum wage from $10.88 to $12 per hour starting on January 1, 2015. The order also requires that sub-contractors be paid the same minimum wage as direct city contractors, which is the goal of Proposition 1. Despite this order, Prop. 1 proponents urged voters to approve the measure anyway in order to make the changes a permanent part of Philadelphia law.
After issuing his order, Mayor Nutter said, “No person who works for the city or on a city contract should live in poverty either, and we must create ladders of opportunity."
Oregon: In Jackson County, Oregon, on May 20, 2014, voters will see what is likely to be one of the most hotly contested local ballot measures of the year. Measure 15-119 seeks to ban the production of genetically modified organisms in the county. Opponents of the measure, most notably including large sugar beet companies and national agriculture businesses, have contributed over $900,000 towards defeating the measure, and the support and opposition campaigns together have poured well over one million dollars into this race. To see details about the initiative, follow Ballotpedia's article on Measure 15-119 and read next week's Tuesday Count.
A nearly identical measure is also being voted on in Josephine County. Together the groups GMO-Free Jackson County and GMO-Free Josephine County are seeking to ban GMOs from the entire Rogue Valley.
Idaho: In Idaho, voters taking part in the May 20, 2014 Pocatello City elections are deciding whether to rescind or retain a city ordinance that bans "discrimination against a person in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations, based upon that person’s sexual orientation and gender identity/expression." They face this decision after a successful referendum petition targeted the ordinance. Opponents of the repeal who support the ordinance were shocked that citizens would seek to repeal a law that they see as essential to protect members of the LGBT community. Supporters of the repeal are concerned that the ordinance could be abused through liberal interpretations of "discrimination" and false accusations.
| 2014 ballot measures|
|Tuesday Count • 2014 Scorecard|
- Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count for 2014
- 2014 ballot measures
- Local ballot measure elections in 2014
- Potential 2014 ballot measures
- Washington Post, "Missouri lawmakers approve ballot vote on gun rights amendment," May 7, 2014
- Missouri Senate, "Senate Joint Resolution No. 36," accessed May 7, 2014
- Missouri Senate, "SJR 36 Overview," accessed May 7, 2014
- Weymouth News, "State House News -- Initiative petition campaigns keep on pace for 2014 ballot," December 4, 2013
- Massachusetts Secretary of State, "State Ballot Question Petitions," accessed May 13, 2014
- Boston Globe, "Mass. gambling foes aim for a referendum," March 9, 2013
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- Office of the Attorney General, "Attorney General's Decision," accessed December 8, 2013
- Michigan Radio, "Latest GOP minimum wage salvo could spark restaurant war," May 9, 2014
- The Detroit News, "Bill could block Michigan minimum wage ballot issue," May 8, 2014
- Detroit Free Press, "Brian Dickerson: Michigan GOP concocts way to silence the voice of voters," May 10, 2014
- The Detroit News, "Education campaign planned to support same-sex marriage in Michigan," May 7, 2014
- CNN, "Federal judge strikes down Michigan's gay marriage ban," accessed March 24, 2014
- MLive, "Michigan cites Supreme Court's affirmative action ruling in gay marriage appeal," May 7, 2014
- Wisconsin Public Radio, "Democrats Eye Control Of State Senate," May 12, 2014
- Metro, "Minimum wage standards expanded, but not to airport subcontractors," February 28, 2013
- Newsworks, "Will PHL follow suit of SeaTac for higher airport pay?," accessed December 17, 2013
- Philadelphia Metro, "Nutter ‘couldn’t wait’ on city contractor’s living wage increase," May 7, 2014
- KPTV News, “Organic Oregon farmers attempt to ban genetically modified crops,” Jan. 2, 2013
- Oregon Secretary of State Political Action Committee database, GMO Free Jackson County," accessed February 24, 2014
- Oregon Secretary of State Political Action Committee database, Good Neighbor Farmers," accessed February 24, 2014
- Farmwars, "Josephine County Moving Forward with Measure to Ban Planting of GMOs," February 8, 2014
- Idaho State Journal, "Council OKs LGBT initiative’s wording: Referendum to go before voters May 20," February 7, 2014