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Almost three-fourths of filed initiatives cleared for circulation in Massachusetts

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September 8, 2011


By Al Ortiz

BOSTON, Massachusetts: As of September 7, 23 of the 31 filed ballot initiatives in Massachusetts were cleared for petition circulation by the Massachusetts Attorney General. This signals the clearance of the first of many hurdles each of those initiatives must complete in order to either be enacted into a law, or be put on the statewide ballot. Supporters now face a long road ahead for their respective proposals.

Once petitions are found acceptable, the Attorney general will prepare a summary and return it and the petition to the petitioners, who must file the petition and summary with the Massachusetts Secretary of State. Once that is submitted, petitions are printed and circulation can begin.

Backers must then collect 68,911 signatures by the December 7, 2011 petition drive deadline. If those signatures are deemed valid, the proposed law is then sent to the Massachusetts General Assembly for consideration.

If the general assembly does not choose to make the proposal a law, supporters must then gather additional signatures to obtain ballot access. Those signatures must be obtained from about 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last governor election and supporters must submit them to local clerks.

Validated signatures must then be turned in by the first Wednesday of July to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office. Since the deadline falls on a national holiday, July 4, that deadline could be either July 3 or 5.[1]

The eight initiatives that were not approved for circulation can be found here, with the exception of two measures. Those measures were part of six different filings of a charitable solicitation regulation initiative. Two of those six proposals were rejected, with the attorney general stating that those versions of the initiative infringed on freedom of speech.

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