The Tuesday Count: no certifications but proposals continue to add up
By Bailey Ludlam
Certifications for 2011 and 2012 have come to a halt but proposals continue to mount. A total of six ballot questions remain certified on three statewide ballots - Maine, Mississippi and New Jersey 2011 ballot measures - for the 2011 election year. The 2012 ballot also remains steady at nine certified measures.
Initiatives, on the other hand, are on the rise. Since January, the number of filed initiatives for 2011 has increased from 28 to 68. A 40 point rise. Like certifications, filed initiative counts are dramatically lower in odd-year election cycles. In March 2010, Ballotpedia reported a sky high number of 424 initiatives. A total of 606 initiatives were filed for the year. This year will not see those high numbers. Proposals for 2011 center around 5 states: Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, and Washington. Petition drive deadlines in both Maine and Mississippi have already come to an end. The next deadline arrives in July in the state of Ohio.
In more recent news, state legislators have also been busy filing proposals. In a move that could affect 2012 petition circulation in the state of Utah, legislators proposed a bill (SB 165) to ban the use of electronic signatures. State citizens, however, are already preparing to veto the proposed bill. According to reports, the referendum petition has been filed with the Utah Secretary of State, and was done so on March 10, 2011. Utah resident Steve Maxfield, Republican National Committeewoman Nancy Lord and Republican activist Janalee Tobias are sponsors of the initiative. According to reports, Maxfield hopes to collect electronic signatures for the measure, but that may be difficult, given the passage of SB 165.
Proposals to ban the use of international law in state court decisions or in some states, specifically Sharia Law, are popping up in numerous states. In 2010, Oklahoma voters cast their vote and approved the proposal. The measure currently remains pending in court. Current proposals can be found in: Florida, Missouri, Alabama, Texas, Nebraska and Wyoming. All may appear on upcoming ballots, with the exception of Florida (SB 1294) and Missouri (HB 708) which have not been filed as proposed ballot measures.
- Ohio Judicial Office Age Amendment (2011) - would raise the age of those occupying judicial office from 70 to 75. The measure is currently being debated in 2011 state legislative session.
- Florida Medical Marijuana Amendment (2012) - would legalize marijuana for medical purposes. More specifically, the proposed amendment would allow patients to use marijuana if prescribed by a doctor but would not allow smoking in public places. Additionally, it would not require insurance companies to cover it and employers wouldn't be required to allow employees to smoke pot on the job.
- Nebraska Tax and License Fee Amendment (2012) - proposes requiring a two-thirds majority of Nebraska lawmakers to approve tax and license fee increases.
- Utah Education Regulation Amendment (2012) - would give Utah’s governor control over education in the state. More specifically, the proposal would allow the governor to retain the state school board and Board of Regents, but they would be under the governor's control, if the measure is enacted.
SPOTLIGHT: Measure to tackle stadium renovations on Anchorage ballot
This April Anchorage voters will cast their ballots on numerous issues, including the city's football stadium. Bond Proposition #5 proposes a $3 million Parks and Recreation bond primarily for fixing city trails and parks. However, the proposal would set aside $1 million to fix the Anchorage Football Stadium. The proposition also stipulates that taxpayers would pay $2 for every $100,000 of assessed property value owned. The football stadium, according to officials, is currently condemned thus offering no water, electricity or bathrooms. Reportedly, trailers from Wasilla have been brought in during games to accommodate football fans.
| 2011 ballot measures|
|Tuesday Count • 2011 Scorecard|