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Ballot Law Update: Semi-annual summary

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By Josh Altic

The first half of 2014 has seen a wide range of changes and attempted changes to ballot law across the nation, with some proposed laws seeking to expand the initiative and referendum process and others attempting to restrict it. For example, legislators in Georgia and eight other states proposed laws that sought to establish the power and process of initiative and referendum in state constitutions. Meanwhile, in Arizona, a controversial law proposed mandating that voters periodically reapprove any initiative or referendum that directs public expenditures or appropriations.

So far this year, state lawmakers have seen at least 113 laws concerning ballot measures during 2014's legislative sessions; of which 67 were carried over from 2013.

As of June 27, 2014, seven laws were approved and 33 were defeated.

This edition of the Ballot Law Update features a half-year roundup of laws, resolutions and bills concerning ballot measure and recall law. It highlights the laws that have been approved and defeated, as well as laws that could entirely change the dynamic of direct democracy on a statewide level.

The Ballot Law Update is released at the end of each month.

Ballot measure legislation breaking news

The Tuesday Count: Minimum wage on the ballot in Alaska, Nebraska and possibly Arkansas

Edited by Ryan Byrne

1 certification
141 measures for 2014

Wages (News)
Signatures (Quick hits)
Lawsuits (Spotlight)

Given Alaska's 2014 ballot measures, the Alaska Centennial Commission's choice of “North to the Future” as the state's official motto seems especially appropriate. Alaska's 2014 ballot is composed of four nationally contentious and prominent issues, including marijuana and the minimum wage, as well as a heated veto referendum on taxing oil firms known as Ballot Measure 1. Today's primary election features Ballot Measure 1, which is an attempt to repeal a bill - one that was championed by Gov. Sean Parnell (R) - which granted tax breaks to oil companies.[1]

Like Alaskans, Nebraskans will also vote on increasing their state's minimum wage in November. Labeled Initiative 425 by the Nebraska Secretary of State, the initiative would increase the state's hourly minimum wage to $9.00 by 2016.[2] Voters in Arkansas may likewise vote on raising the minimum wage after supporters submited signatures to get their initiative on the ballot.[3]

At the local level, a number of California measures, including the Berkeley Sugary Beverages and Soda Tax Question and the Santa Barbara County Fracking Ban Initiative, are being contested in the courts. Most of the lawsuits are related to the ballot questions' texts, summaries or official arguments and rebuttals.

...more on ballot measure law

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