The Tuesday Count: Momentum stays strong in 2012 ballot measure increases

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August 21, 2012

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Edited by Al Ortiz

Today, August 21, marks exactly 11 weeks until the November 6, 2012 general election. With such little time, a slow-down in ballot measure certifications could have been expected by now.

That may not be the case.

Four more ballot measures were added to the Tuesday Count, two in Michigan, one in Maryland and another in New Jersey. The ballot measure count for the fall general election is now at 152 measures in 34 states. Altogether, there are or have been 164 ballot measures in 35 states.

Michigan voters saw their ballot increase by two measures when a renewable energy measure and a home health care measure were set up for public votes. The two citizen-initiatives had their signatures verified on August 13 and were placed on the ballot two days later.

The first measure, the renewable energy proposal, would mandate that by 2025, 25% of the state's electricity must come form renewable resources. The proposal was filed by Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs on January 12, 2012.

The second measure would place features of the Michigan Quality Community Care Council in the state constitution, in addition to providing home health care providers with limited collective bargaining. The petition drive was sponsored by Citizens for Affordable Quality Home Care.

Jumping to the topic of gambling on the 2012 ballot, Maryland voters will get their chance to have a say on whether or not to allow one additional casino to be constructed in Prince George's County. The measure would also expand the type of games allowed at existing casinos. The proposal was granted ballot access after it was passed by the legislature on August 13. The senate approved it 32-14 and the house sent it to the governor with a 71-59 vote.[1]

It was officially placed on the ballot when it was signed by the governor two days later, on August 15.[1]

Rounding out the certifications is New Jersey, where the state legislature passed a measure to the ballot dealing with upgrades at state colleges. The measure would allow the state to borrow $750 million for buildings and other improvements at the state's colleges. According to reports, most of the money would go to research universities and public colleges. Also, other funds would be allocated to 19 community colleges.

Making cents of the Alaska primary

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Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $63,688.86
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $767,995.31

The August 28, 2012 primary election in Alaska is one week away. Campaigns have heated up, especially in the case of Ballot Measure 2's campaign contributions from both sides.

The indirect initiated state statute would establish a new coastal management program in the state. It was submitted to the Lieutenant Governor's office during the week of October 5, 2011 by Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho and other supporters of the initiative. Specifically, the management program that would be established would be formally called the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program. Alaska is the only coastal state in the country without a federal coastal management plan, according to reports. Coastal programs are established to guarantee state and local participation in federal decisions on coastal issues that could potentially surface.

According to the most recent campaign disclosure reports, the opposing campaign has raised a vastly larger amount of money than its counterpart, with the largest donation coming from the Alaska Miners Association, who chipped in $158,145.96.

The largest donation to the supporting campaign was $15,137.97 from the North Slope Borough.

Read more about these campaign contributions here.

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.[2]

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...[2]

Quick hits

Groups on both sides of Alaska Ballot Measure 2 file lawsuits: Both the group behind the ballot drive, the Alaska Sea Party, and the one opposing the measure, "Vote No on 2," have filed lawsuits accusing each other of violating Alaska campaign law. The law in dispute is the state's requirement that campaigns are required to list the current top three largest financial contributors, both in text and audio, during ads. "Vote No on 2" is being accused of not displaying both text and audio identification and the Alaska Sea Party is accused of not providing any identification of their donors.[3]

New poll shows support for legalizing marijuana in Colorado: According to a poll released by Public Policy Polling on August 8 of 779 likely voters, 47% said they supported Amendment 64, while 38% of those surveyed opposed it. The poll had a margin of error of +/-3.5%.[4]

Arkansas Casino Amendment pushed from ballot: On Wednesday, August 15, Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin ruled in favor of a complaint that the wording of the measure on the ballot failed to fully explain the changes it would make. The challenge to the amendment was filed by Stop Casinos Now, the leading opposition to the measure. A spokesperson for Nancy Todd, the measure's sponsor, said that those is support of the amendment would not stop their push and were reviewing the ruling.[5]


Sick leave measure inches closer to Florida's Orange County November ballot

Measure supporters in Orange County, Florida have successfully gathered the required signatures to place a paid sick leave measure on the November ballot.

A worker's advocate group was the main force behind the petition, who were able to get the required 50,364 valid signatures to place the issue on the ballot, pending legal challenges. The goal of the petition is to require businesses to give paid sick leave for their employees based on their hours worked. Employers with fewer than 15 employees would not be mandated to give paid sick leave, but they would not be able to penalize their workers if they took time off while ill. Proponents state that giving sick leave will allow employees ample time to tend to their health needs, which will improve businesses overall.

Opponents of the measure have stated that this could hurt small businesses if they are required to give sick leave. Several businesses in the county have also filed suits against the measure, which are still pending.[6][7]

The Tuesday Count Spotlight highlights notable developments from local ballot measures across the country as well as international ballot measures.

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Lawsuits filed over disqualified Missouri ballot measures: Groups in support of both the Payday Loan Initiative and the Minimum Wage Initiative have filed lawsuits in Cole County claiming that a number of valid petition signatures were not counted. The lawsuits come following the state's findings that the petitions for the measures contained an insufficient number of valid names.[8]

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A redistricting measure was placed on the 2012 ballot in what midwestern state? Click to find out!

U.S. Supreme Court may weigh in on Oklahoma "Personhood" Amendment: Following an unfavorable Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that removed the proposed amendment from the ballot, Personhood USA announced that it is attempting to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. The original lawsuit was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights which alleged that the amendment was unconstitutional and should not appear before voters. The state supreme court delivered the ruling as supporters were still gathering signatures.[9]

A new update will be released later this month. Click here for past Ballot Law Update reports!