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July 6 big day for four states with initiative petition drive deadlines
By Al Ortiz and Eric Veram
In what was a week full of petition drive deadlines for ballot initiatives in seven states, July 6 not only marks the end of the work week.
Today, supporters of initiatives in four states must turn in signatures in hopes of landing on the November 6, 2012 ballot in those respective states. Early reports indicate that some initiatives have already filed signatures and may have enough to make the ballot.
Below is a summary of developments in each of those four states leading up to the deadline.
- Updated as of 3:15 p.m. CST
The state of Arkansas is not without its fair share of controversial ballot measures.
According to the Arkansas Secretary of State's office, three hot-topic issues have filed signatures on time today.
When Ballotpedia contacted the secretary's office, it was reported that initiatives efforts that filed signatures included a proposal that would legalize casino gambling in the state. The proposal was introduced by Las Vegas-based Poker Palace LLC. Previously, on June 28, 2012, supporters of the measure stated that they had more than 70,000 signatures on hand.
Jumping ahead of the curve, organizers behind a medical marijuana proposal turned in signatures to Arkansas election officials on July 5, the day before the deadline. Reports indicate that proponents collected 67,885 signatures, more than the 62,507 needed to obtain ballot access.
Also turning in signatures today were supporters of a severance tax increase question. The measure would raise the severance tax levy on companies for natural gas from 5 to 7 percent. The initiative, proposed by Sheffield Nelson, a former gas company executive and gubernatorial candidate, seeks to help fill an estimated $15 billion gap between highway needs and projected revenues over the next ten years.
When asked if any other initiatives were expected to turn in signatures, the secretary's office stated that one more may file, but "at this point, it's very doubtful."
- Updated as of 11:25 a.m. CST
Currently there are eight citizen initiated measures circulating petitions in Nebraska. Of these eight, however, there are only four different subjects covered by the measures: petition signature requirements, marijuana, same-sex marriage, and first-degree sexual assault. The reason for this being that some of the initiatives have been filed in different forms with slightly different wordings.
For those filed as state statutes, supporters are required to collect valid signatures from a minimum of seven percent of registered voters. The number is ten percent of registered voters for initiated constitutional amendments. Because of this policy, signature gatherers cannot know the exact number of names required until the day they are filed.
According to the state Elections Division, no ballot proposals filed signatures on Friday.
- Updated as of 12:42 p.m. PST
In the state of Oregon there are currently 45 measures that have been proposed for the November ballot as citizen initiatives. Of that number, so far one has qualified for the ballot: the Real Estate Transfer Tax Amendment, also known as, Initiative 5. This large number of filed measures does reflect the fact that many have been proposed with minor differences by groups seeking to maximize their chances of reaching the ballot.
In order to place a measure on the general election ballot, supporters must gather valid signatures equaling 8% of the votes cast for the office of governor in the state's most recent gubernatorial election for constitutional amendments, 6% for state statutes, and 4% for veto referendums. This translates into 116,283, 87,213, and 58,142 signatures, respectively.
So far two ballot measures have announced that they will not be submitting signatures today. Both the Studded Tire Ban Initiative and the Public Funding of Abortion Amendment have stated that they do not have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
According to the Oregon Secretary of State website, the following measures have filed signatures: the Cannabis Tax Act Initiative, Estate Tax Phase-Out Initiative, Gillnet Fishing Initiative, Marijuana Legalization Amendment, Corporate Tax "Kicker" Funds for Education Initiative, Privately-Owned Casinos Amendment, and the Multnomah County Casino Initiative.
- Updated as of 9:10 p.m. PST
According to Ballotpedia's filed initiative count page, at least 84 initiatives filed for circulation in the state of Washington. However, it is not known how many were withdrawn, ceased circulation, or chose not to pursue the ballot.
For initiatives hoping to be granted ballot access, a minimum of 241,153 valid petition signatures are required to qualify an Initiative to the People for the 2012 statewide ballot.
One initiative already on the ballot is Initiative 502. That measure would legalize the production, possession, delivery and distribution of marijuana. The initiative would regulate the sale of small amounts of marijuana to people 21 and older. According to reports, marijuana grow farms and food processors would be licensed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board
There were other marijuana initiatives that had filed for circulation, however it is not known if organizers will file signatures on the day of the deadline due to the certification of Initiative 502.
According to reports as of yesterday, July 5, supporters of a charter school initiative may have collected enough signatures to be place on the ballot. The measure would allow 40 public charter schools in the state over the next five years.
It was also reported today that supporters of the proposal to require either two-thirds legislative approval or a vote by the people in order to raise taxes turned in signatures by the deadline.
- Arizona 2012 ballot measures
- Arizona Legislature
- 2012 ballot measures
- List of Arizona ballot measures
- Kait8.com, "Deadline arrives for Arkansas ballot measure petitions," July 6, 2012
- Arkansas Matters, "Group Very Close to Getting Casinos on Arkansas Ballot," June 28, 2012
- Arkansas Matters, "Group Surpasses Needed Signatures to Get Casinos on AR Ballot," July 5, 2012 (dead link)
- San Francisco Gate, "Ark. medical marijuana backers submit petitions," July 5, 2012
- Seattle Times, "Well-funded charter-school initiative has nearly enough signatures to make ballot," July 2, 2012
- Washington Secretary of State, "Charter school fans, Eyman submit initiative sigs," July 6, 2012