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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: California will remain one state as “Six Californias” fails signature count

Edited by Ryan Byrne

0 certifications
148 measures for 2014

Six Californias (News)
Education (Quick hits)
Minimum Wage (Spotlight)

You won’t be able to live in a state named after a mineral used in microchips or one named after our third president. Silicon Valley and Jefferson would have been two of the six states called for by Timothy Draper’s "Six Californias" Initiative. The initiative failed to make the ballot following the California Secretary of State's random signature count, which revealed a low number of valid signatures. As a result, Californians will not be voting on partitioning their state in 2016, unless supporters jumpstart a new initiative.[1] Across the Atlantic Ocean, the United Kingdom is facing an even more radical partition proposal. The Scots, who have been part of the United Kingdom since 1707, will be voting on a Scotland Independence Referendum on September 18, 2014.[2]

Meanwhile, the question of public funding of private education is heating up in Hawaii. A battle line is being drawn, with private preschools pushing for the amendment and the state's largest teacher's union calling for a "no" vote.[3] Two of California's most expensive initiatives are starting to sink in the polls. This could just be a bump in the road, or opposition campaigns could be effectively targeting and convincing voters that the initiatives are flawed.[4]

Following the passage of a $15 per hour minimum wage law in Seattle, 15 Now activists want to take their proposal across Lake Washington to Bellevue. According to The Seattle Times, Bellevue is more "conservative" and "business-friendly" than Seattle. The new geography may come with a tougher fight for 15 Now.[5] Other supporters of a $15 minimum wage have started collecting signatures to place an initiative on the ballot in Los Angeles, as well.[6]

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