The Tuesday Count: Maine bear hunting measure could spark multimillion dollar battle
Edited by Brittany ClingenMaine's February 3 filing deadline brought only one of a potential six initiatives closer to the November 4, 2014 election ballot. The Secretary of State's office confirmed to Ballotpedia that supporters of the Maine Bear Hunting Ban Initiative turned in signatures by the state's prescribed deadline. The group supporting the initiative, Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, claim to have turned in 78,528 signatures. The secretary of state has one month to review and certify the signatures, only 57,277 of which need to be proved valid in order to send the measure to state legislators, who will get first crack at the issue before deciding whether or not to refer it to the ballot. The methods by which hunters trap bears have gone before state voters previously; in 2004, voters rejected a similar measure which would have criminalized the hunting of bears using bait, traps or dogs, except to protect property, public safety or for research purposes. Given the divisive nature of the issue, there is speculation that legislators will refrain from acting on the measure, thereby referring it to the ballot.
Supporters are confident that the 2014 measure will fare better than its decade-old predecessor. Katie Hansberry, campaign director for Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, said, "This is an issue that is still important to Mainers all around the state. Baiting bears is a problematic and reckless practice." Supporters of the measure argue that certain methods used to lure and hunt bears are inhumane. Meanwhile, the group, Save Maine’s Bear Hunt, has come out as one of the measure's main opponents. David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and a member of Save Maine's Bear Hunt, refuted Hansberry's statement. He and his fellow opponents believe that bear hunting is an important part of the state's economy and think bear populations should continue to be managed by biologists at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
As was the case for the 2004 measure, the Humane Society of the United States has been an outspoken supporter of the measure. In 2004, the organization donated a total of $485,000 in an effort to get the measure approved. If history repeats itself, the 2014 initiative is likely to attract significant donations. A total of $2,613,625 was raised from the support and opposition sides combined for the 2004 measure. Trahan believes another multimillion dollar fight lies ahead, noting that the Humane Society told him it would spend up to $3 million to ensure a successful campaign in the state. "Given the amount of money they have and the fact that they don’t mind saying things that are over the top, it could get heated," he said.
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California legislature votes on amending Prop 209: Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-24) proposed an amendment to delete provisions in Proposition 209 via an Affirmative Action in Education Amendment. The amendment would, upon voter approval, allow preferential treatment in public education for individuals or groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. Prop 209 banned affirmative action in public institutions in 1996. The potential legislatively-referred constitutional amendment will go before voters during the general election if approved in the House, as the measure has already passed in the Senate. Democratic legislators pointed to low non-Asian minority representation in state universities and the need for diversity, while Republicans criticized the measure as ignoring problems in primary education that cause low college acceptance rates amongst certain racial minority groups.
Sharron Angle introduces Voter ID initiative in Nevada: Sharron Angle, a former state assemblywoman and candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2010, filed a voter ID initiative that, upon approval, would require voters to present an identification card to an election board office prior to voting. The initiative's proponents have until July 17, 2014 to collect at least 101,666 valid signatures.
Angle also introduces state-run health exchange prohibition amendment: Angle also filed a Healthcare Exchange Initiative, which would prohibit state or local government health care exchanges, as devised by the ACA, commonly known as "Obamacare." Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) has, unlike most in the Republican Governors Association, established a state-based exchange in Nevada.
Cannabis hemp becoming an issue in California and for the U.S. Congress: The Cannabis Hemp Initiative has been introduced in California by Berton Duzy, a contractor from Simi Valley. The measure would legalize cannabis for industrial and commercial hemp production, nutritional and medicinal hemp production and for personal use. A farm bill likely to pass through Congress in the coming days would, likewise, decriminalize hemp production for scientific research and hemp farming in ten states, not including California.
Currently, the city of Piedmont owes CalPERS $7.8 million in unfunded liabilities belonging to a side fund alone, which is separate from and in addition to the full PERS plans and liabilities covered by the city's taxpayers. Piedmont, which had a population of under 11,000 in 2012, is on track to pay this debt off over nine years at an interest rate that amounts to 7.5%. This proposal, if approved, would allow the city to borrow $8 million dollars to refinance this debt at a lower interest rate. City officials have estimated that refinancing would save the city between $600,000 and $700,000 over the projected nine year life of the loan.
Stay tuned to Ballotpedia's article on this local ballot measure for election results as they become available later tonight.
Conservationist activists in San Francisco follow up on their November 5, 2013, victory with a sweeping initiative regulating waterfront construction:
Petitioners have submitted 21,067 signatures for an initiative that, if approved, would bring three large development project plans to a grinding halt by requiring voter approval for any construction on the San Francisco Waterfront that exceeds current, fairly restrictive building height limitations. Many of the activists behind this initiative were also active in the November effort to shut down the 8 Washington Street waterfront development project in November of 2013. The San Francisco Department of Elections has until March 5 to certify that at least 9,702 of the submitted signatures are valid, in which case the initiative would appear on the June ballot.
The three big projects currently in the works on the waterfront, all of which would require voter approval in city-wide referenda if this initiative is enacted, are:
- The NBA team, the Golden State Warriors, have proposed and planned the construction of an 18,000-seat arena complex. The arena would be 125 feet tall and would be located on Piers 30-32, which is currently zoned for buildings only 40 feet high. According to reports, the Warriors' team is not bothered by the initiative because they may have already been willing to go to the voters for approval of their new arena, independent of the proposed initiative forcing a referendum. The Warriors have announced that Snøhetta and AECOM were selected to design the new arena and have released multiple renderings of the proposed construction, which are available here.
- The San Francisco Giants are planning an urban neighborhood on what is currently their main parking lot. The development would include 300-foot tall towers on areas that are now zoned only for open space.
- A plan has been circulating for some time to develop and rehabilitate the Pier 70 area - 69-acres located in the City’s Central Waterfront, generally between Mariposa and 22nd Street, east of Illinois Street. The estimates for the development work are between $58 and $100 million and would require voter approval via the initiative.
Follow Ballotpedia's article on this initiative for the most recent developments.
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- Maine Secretary of State, "Citizen's Initiative and People's Veto," accessed February 4, 2014
- Maine Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election, "Question 2: Citizen Initiative," May 10, 2004
- The Republic, "Bear baiting opponents collect 78,528 signatures, aims for referendum in Maine," February 4, 2014
- Portland Press Herald, "Bear baiting question may be back on Maine ballot," February 4, 2014
- California Legislature, "Documents Associated with SCA 5 in the Session," accessed February 4, 2014
- Idaho Statesman, "California voters may revisit affirmative action," January 30, 2014
- RGJ, "Sharron Angle files petition for voter ID law," January 30, 2014
- RGJ, "Sharron Angle files petition to outlaw Nevada health exchange," January 14, 2014
- California Secretary of State, "The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative of 2014," accessed February 4, 2014
- USA Today, "Farm bill would allow hemp cultivation in some states," January 29, 2014
- Smartvoter.org, Piedmont Measure A information," accessed January 16, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Piedmont, California," accessed February 4, 2014
- Golden State Warriors, "Arena Development Project Announcements," accessed February 4, 2014
- Port of San Francisco website, Pier 70 project," accessed February 4, 2014
- Curbed, "No Surprise: Central Waterfront's Pier 70 Rehab Costs Balloon," October 30, 2013