The Tuesday Count: measure flatline continues as initiative sponsors play the waiting game

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July 19, 2011

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Edited by Bailey Ludlam

Citizen initiatives remain at the forefront of ballot measure headlines but official certifications have yet to be made. The Ohio Senate Bill 5 Veto Referendum and South Dakota Tax Revenues for Grants Referendum join a proposed Maryland in-state tuition referendum in the wait for official certification. All three proposals reportedly have sufficient signatures to qualify for the 2011 and 2012 ballot.

With no certifications this week, both the 2011 and 2012 Tuesday Count remain rock solid with no additions. But stay tuned, as official certifications in Ohio, South Dakota and Maryland are expected in the next two weeks.

Despite looming changes, the fate of one proposal in Arizona was decided on Tuesday, July 19. Supporters of a referendum to repeal parts of Senate Bill 1200 failed to file sufficient signatures to move the measure forward. SB 1200 eliminates the right to a trial jury for those who have been accused of driving while intoxicated. Supporters were required to collect a minimum of 86,405 signatures.

On the other hand, two initiatives in California and North Dakota received the green light to initiate their efforts and circulate their proposed initiatives.

Online retailing giant has launched a fight to repeal a tax that Gov. Jerry Brown signed on June 28. ABx1 28, the law is targeting for repeal using California's veto referendum process, requires Internet retailers to pay sales tax if they have affiliates or subsidiaries in California. Under the new law, California tax experts say that online retail giant Amazon will owe $83 million in additional taxes in 2011.

On July 18 Attorney General Kamala Harris signed off on the proposed referendum. Sponsors must collect 504,760 signatures within 90 days.

On Friday, July 15, North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger cleared a pharmacy ownership repeal initiative for circulation. Proponents have one year to collect a minimum of 13,452 valid signatures in order to qualify for the 2012 statewide ballot.

Proposals with recent activity

Ballot measure supporters first filed the initiative in 2010. However, after reviewing the filed signatures, it was determined that the initiative had exceeded the signature requirement by 91 signatures, but supporters failed to submit a list of sponsoring committee members with the petition sheets. The committee list, according to officials, withheld the measure from the ballot.

In preparation for the upcoming 2011 ballot, Texas officials released the order of the measures that will appear before state voters. Check out the full list here. Voters will cast their vote on everything from taxes to bonds to education issues.


SPOTLIGHT:Second Seattle Tunnel measure blocked from ballot
Another tunnel measure in Seattle Washington was blocked from appearing on the November ballot by a King County Superior Court judge on Monday, July 18. The proposed initiative had sought to prohibit the use of city streets for the construction of the new tunnel replacement. The judge ruled that the initiative would have gone beyond the scope allowed for initiatives in that it concerned areas of government which are delegated to the Mayor and City Council.[1]

This measure was separate from Referendum 1 which will be voted on in August. The current referendum seeks approval of a section of the tunnel ordinance agreement and would ultimately not stop the tunnel from being built. In contrast, the challenged initiative which was thrown out would have hindered the tunnel project more directly in that no city property could be used to aid in construction of the tunnel. The group Protect Seattle Now collected signatures for both this initiative as well as the August referendum.[1]

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A total of how many lawsuits have been filed pertaining to 2011 and 2012 ballot measures?
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Washington Recall Ruling: A US District Court in Washington overturned the state's cap on contributions to recall campaigns. The case began after two lawyers donated $20,000 in legal work to the campaign to recall the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer, Dale Washam. In Farris v Seabrook, opponents of the $800 cap argue that contributions to recall campaigns have more in common with contributions to initiatives than contributions to candidates.[2]

Under Washington law, contributions to ballot measure campaigns are not capped since ballot measures cannot become corrupt or trade special favors for contributions. Similarly, argued opponents, recall campaigns cannot corrupt an officeholder because they can only remove an existing official from office. Proponents of the cap argue that wealthy individuals could employ the threat of recall to improperly influence elected officials. Given a high signature requirement and mandatory judicial review of proposed recall campaigns, the judge sided with opponents, arguing that the restriction on political speech was not "closely drawn to match" a compelling state interest. Walsham appealed the case to the State Supreme Court, but the ruling was upheld.[2][3]

The full decision can be found here.

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See also

2011 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2011 Scorecard