The Tuesday Count: Past repeats itself with old issues in new states

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December 18, 2012

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By Al Ortiz and Eric Veram

Odd-numbered years typically have significantly fewer measures on the ballot than even-numbered years, so it comes as no surprise that no activity has occurred on the Tuesday Count for 2013. However, recently filed initiatives and legislative proposals are underway in multiple states - initiatives aiming for a coveted spot on future ballots.

Three states with a hyper level of initiative activity are highlighted below:


The California State Legislature has set a focus for potential ballot measures relating to budget balancing issues. The ballot measures, which so far add up to thirteen in number, have been introduced by various state senators.[1]

Of the thirteen ballot measures, one includes Senate Constitutional Amendment 6, introduced by State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, which aims to disallow the submitting of future citizen initiatives that would add to state costs, with the exception being if that initiative identifies a new source of revenue.[1]

Senate Concurrent Resolution 2, also introduced by DeSaulnier, proposes to initiate an independent review of the California Constitution in order to propose recommendations for improvements.[1]

Both of these proposals, like others, will need a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the Legislature to be placed on the ballot.


According to the Missouri Secretary of State's website, four initiatives were approved for circulation last week, meaning petition drive efforts can now begin collecting signatures for the 2014 ballot.

All four initiatives relate to eminent domain in the state.

Two of the initiatives would restrict the use of eminent domain in the state by allowing only governing entities to use the process of eminent domain, prohibiting use for private endeavors, only using it for public use while still giving reasonable compensation, and allowing original owners of land to repurchase property if it is not in use within five years.

The second two initiatives are geared toward the power of the Missouri General Assembly relating to eminent domain.

Both proposals would prohibit the assembly's implementation of eminent domain when trying to acquire land to resell if that land was unusable or unsanitary. Also, the measure would allow the assembly to require an owner of a poorly kept land to clean up said land. If that owner does not do so, the local government would then be allowed to pay for the abatement and impose a lien to recover the cost.

All four petitions were submitted by Ron Calzone of Missouri Citizens for Property Rights. That group has until May 4, 2014 to turn in those signatures. Reports by the Secretary of State have not said how many signatures must be turned in, however. Missouri law states that signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to eight percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor's election from six of the state's eight congressional districts.


In 2012, California voters pulled their levers on Proposition 37, a measure that ultimately lead to the requirement of having labels on raw or processed food if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways.

Further north, a similar effort has reached the state of Washington. The initiative effort that would require GMO labeling on food with modified genetic material has almost reached it's goal of approximately 320,000 signatures in hopes of presenting it to the Washington Legislature. A minimum of about 241,000 signatures are required to advance the proposal to the lawmaking body. However, if the legislature chooses not to adopt the law, the measure would then appear on the 2013 ballot.[2]

The group must submit signatures by the December 31, 2012 deadline.

Quick hits

New Jersey may see a referendum on same-sex marriage: On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Gusciora introduced a measure that would place same-sex marriage on the ballot in New Jersey. According to reports, the legislator does not necessarily believe rights should be put to a vote, but rather it is his constituents that support such a move. He also referred to the recent victories for same-sex marriage supporters, saying, "I am the last person who believes civil rights should be on the ballot, but civil rights delayed is civil rights denied. The timing is right. There is broader acceptance." Gusciora also indicated that he modeled his proposal off of Maine's Question 1.[3]

Ban on gillnets may appear on ballots in Washington: On Saturday, December 15, 2012, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission held a public hearing on the subject of a possible proposal to ban gillnet fishing on main stem of the lower Columbia River. According to reports, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a similar plan to phase out the practice in 2017 despite the fact that voters defeated Measure 81, which would have also banned the use of gillnets. The proposal does differ from the 2012 measure, however, in that it involves a longer phase-out period. While supporters say the rules are necessary to protect endangered salmon, opponents argue the proposal could negatively affect their livelihood.[4]


Controversy mars Egyptian constitutional election

Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi called for a referendum to be held on December 15, allowing voters to decide on the draft constitution proposed for the country.[5]

However, when the vote took place, controversy swirled as lines moved slowly and accusations of voter suppression arose.

Preliminary results show that the country backed the country's new charter with 55.8% of the vote. Official results will be released when the second round of voting takes place on December 22, 2012.

According to reports Morsi called for the referendum among country-wide disputes between many key political and religious groups that the Egyptian president is trying to obtain more power. The divide comes mainly between Islamist and secular lines, reports say.

Egyptian judges have also reportedly gone on strike in protest of the constitution and have threatened to boycott observing the vote, while the secular opposition have said they would create a civil disobedience campaign.[6]

According to Morsi: "After receiving this draft constitution, and out of keenness to build the nation's institutions without delay or stalling, I will issue today the call for a public referendum on this draft charter on Saturday, Dec. 15. I pray to God and hope that it will be a new day of democracy in Egypt."

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

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Previously barred citizenship question may make it to future Michigan ballots: Despite similar legislation having been vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder during the summer, the Michigan legislature has passed a bill that would require voters to sign their name next to a statement affirming citizenship on each ballot. Though the governor had vetoed the question before the November election, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson still planned to include it arguing that she could do so under her own authority. The question was, however, barred from the ballot by a federal judge. The new proposal also requires that individuals show photo identification when registering to vote.[7]

Changes to Michigan's recall process approved: On Friday, December 14, 2012, the Republican controlled Michigan legislature approved changes to state laws making it more difficult to recall lawmakers, the governor, and local officials. On major change is that the time to collect recall signatures is shortened from 90 days to 60 days. Another is that officials subject to a recall election would have opponents run against them, rather than a simple 'yes' or 'no' vote. Democrats in the legislature have criticized the move saying that it is in response to public protests following the signing of "right-to-work" legislation in the state.[8]

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See also

2012 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2012 Scorecard