The Tuesday Count: North Dakota ballot measure election held during June primary
Edited by Brittany ClingenNorth Dakota's century-old tradition of initiative and referendum may be altered if voters choose to approve Measure 1 during the June 10, 2014 primary election. The legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, upon voter approval, would change the filing deadline for initiated petitions from 90 to 120 days before a statewide election and provide that challenges to the secretary of state's decisions regarding ballot petitions must be filed with the supreme court at least seventy-five days before the election.
The measure was introduced into the North Dakota Legislature as House Concurrent Resolution 3034. In the North Dakota Senate, 64 percent of senators voted for the amendment, while 85 percent of representatives in the North Dakota House followed suit. North Dakota has the second latest signature filing deadline in the country. Only Oklahoma's deadline is later, at 60 days prior to an election. Four states - Arizona, Arkansas, Nebraska and Washington - have deadlines set around 120 days. The average signature filing deadline before an election is approximately 138 days.
North Dakota is celebrating the state’s one-hundred-year-old tradition of initiative and referendum this year. In 1914, North Dakotans approved the Initiated Constitutional Amendment Referendum, which created a process for indirect initiated constitutional amendments, and the Initiative Statute Amendment Referendum, which created a process for indirect initiated state statutes. Both measures were placed on the ballot by the North Dakota Legislature.
In 1918, the citizenry, utilizing their new power of initiative, voted on an initiated constitutional amendment to make the initiative process "direct," meaning the legislature was no longer involved in an initiative's approval or defeat, and to reduce the petition filing deadline to 90 days before the election. The Simplified Initiative and Referendum Process Initiative was approved. The most recent prior ballot measure on the state's initiative and referendum process was Constitutional Measure 2 of 2004. Measure 2 was approved and mandated fiscal impact statements for initiated measures.
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Illinois term limits initiative nears ballot, though legal hurdles still loom: On June 2, 2014, election officials announced that the Illinois initiated constitutional amendment seeking to establish eight-year term limits for the general assembly and change the membership size of the two chambers had likely submitted sufficient valid signatures to be placed on the November ballot. However, the signature requirement was only the first obstacle that supporters of the measure faced. This initiative and another seeking to create a nonpartisan redistricting commission are both facing legal challenges in Cook County Circuit Court from a group of business and nonprofit leaders. The lawsuits challenge the constitutionality of the measures and will likely end up before the Illinois Supreme Court.
Oregon GMO labeling campaign raises nearly $1 million, spends $590,523 to gather signatures: As of June 10, 2014, Oregon GMO Right to Know had raised $941,154 in their effort to require the labeling of food products with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The campaign has spent $590,523 on signature gathering efforts done by Fieldworks, LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based firm. The PAC has spent over $800,000, in total, since its formation on February 28, 2014. The measure, if it makes the November ballot, is predicted to be one of the most expensive ballot measures.
Washington proposed initiatives react to 2013 overturn of Initiative 1185: Three initiatives to the people have been proposed for the November 4, 2014 ballot in Washington, attempting to circumvent a 2013 court ruling that overturned Initiative 1185, which voters approved in 2012. Initiative 1185 required either two-thirds legislative approval or a vote by the people in order to raise taxes. Therefore, a one third minority of legislators in either chamber of the Washington State Legislature could have prevented the passage of any measure to raise revenue or repeal existing tax exemptions. The measure defined repealing a tax exemption as raising revenue. It only took a simple majority to pass a tax exemption, but, under the proposal, a two thirds majority of both houses of the legislature was required to repeal it. The Washington Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that supermajority requirements were not allowed under the state constitution and that it would take a constitutional amendment to make such a tax measure possible.
While Washington citizens do not have the power to place initiated constitutional amendments on the ballot, creative petitioners are using the initiative processes available to make voting on tax increases law. Two of the proposed initiatives would decrease the state sales tax, either from 6.5 to 5.5 percent or 6.5 to 4.5 percent, unless the legislature sends a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment to voters requiring two-thirds legislative or voter approval to increase taxes. The third measure would repeal certain taxes, including most sales taxes, unless the same demand for a constitutional amendment is met.
Unions back minimum wage increase initiative in Oakland:
A group called Lift up Oakland looks forward to November when city voters will decide the fate of its minimum wage increase initiative. According to recent polling, about 70 percent of the city's voters approve of the bid to hike compensation for low-wage workers to $12.25 per hour by March 1, 2015. Several city councils across California have already raised low-wage pay, and initiatives similar to the Oakland measure are being worked on in the cities of Richmond, San Francisco and Berkeley, but Shum Preston, spokesperson for SEIU 1021, said that the Oakland effort has been “the most well-developed and broadly-supported" and Oakland activists are ahead of the game as of May 23, 2014, having submitted more than enough signatures to qualify their initiative for the November ballot.
Critics of the initiative say that it will hurt the job market in the city by driving jobs into the surrounding unincorporated areas or into nearby cities with lower minimum wage requirements. Michael LeBlanc presented his situation as the owner of a local restaurant called Pícan at an Oakland Chamber of Commerce meeting. LeBlanc talked about his 52 employees, his annual payroll of $1.2 million and his servers who earn between $14 and $29 per hour with tips. LeBlanc stressed that with the increase in base-pay demanded for his servers, as well as all of his other workers, the initiative could increase his payroll by $300,000, which, according to LeBlanc, is especially significant in the industry that only enjoys profit margins of as little as 5 percent. LeBlanc said, "No one wants to be the one to kill Bambi." He also implied, however, that in his search for a second restaurant location, he would definitely choose Walnut Creek over Oakland if the initiative is approved. He said, "If the cost of labor in Oakland changes too much, economically it's not even a tough decision."
Minimum wage supporters countered the issue of competitive disadvantage with regard to wage by proposing a wage increase for the entire East Bay area. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, who proposed the area-wide minimum wage increase, said, “Oakland is the place where we would look. If the voters approve the ballot measure, that will set a standard. It makes it much more palatable to people because they are not at a competitive disadvantage.” Thus, with a lot more than the minimum wage of workers in Oakland on the line, critics and supporters of a $12.25 per hour minimum wage will battle to win over voters before they decide in November the question that could have a very significant impact on the lives of workers and the entire economy of Oakland.
June 3, 2014, California election preliminary tax and bond round up:
- Note: The following summary is based on preliminary election results. A full report will be released once results are certified.
Of the 144 local measures decided during the June 3, 2014 primary, 85 measures were questions about tax or bond issues.
$2.818 billion was requested by 44 separate school districts, and $2.445 billion of it was approved, according to preliminary results. Of the school bond measures decided, 35 were approved, eight were defeated, and one measure has a margin of less than ten votes separating it from approval and is too close to call until results are certified.
Four non-school bond measures asked for a total of $722 million, most of which was requested in a $400 million dollar San Francisco earthquake safety bond measure and a $300 million recreational area and park maintenance bond measure in an open space district spanning Santa Cruz County, Santa Clara County and San Mateo County. The San Francisco measure was overwhelmingly approved, while the open space bonds are currently ahead of the required 55 percent majority by a narrow margin.
There were 22 parcel tax measures:
- six in school districts;
- five for libraries; and
- eleven for public safety, fire, and other districts.
| 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
- North Dakota Legislature, "House Concurrent Resolution No. 3034," accessed January 21, 2014
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- North Dakota Secretary of State, "History of Initiative and Referendum in North Dakota," accessed April 1, 2014
- Beloit Daily News, "Illinois term limit issue may be put before voters," June 3, 2014
- Crain's Chicago Business, "Lawsuit fights Illinois term limits, remap moves," April 30, 2014
- Scribd.com, "Remap, term limits lawsuit," accessed May 14, 2014
- Oregon Secretary of State, Elections Division, "Account Summary: Oregon GMO Right to Know (16728)," accessed June 10, 2014
- Oregon Secretary of State, Elections Division, "Transaction Search Results: Oregon GMO Right to Know (16728)," accessed June 10, 2014
- The Oregonian, "GMO labeling campaign spends $591,000 on signature gathering: Oregon campaign finance," June 9, 2014
- Majority Rules, "Eyman's initiative 1053," accessed April 17, 2012
- Washington Secretary of State, "I-1187 text," accessed January 10, 2012
- League of Educ. Voters v. State 87425-5 (2013)
- Washington Secretary of State, "Proposed Initiatives to the People - 2014," accessed June 7, 2014
- Oakland Local, "Oakland minimum wage ballot measure forges ahead," June 10, 2014