Local ballot measure elections in 2014
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Ballotpedia covered the following notable local topics in detail in 2014:
- See also: Local fracking on the ballot
The first of at least 11 2014 local measures seeking a ban on fracking was defeated in Johnson County, Illinois, on March 18, 2014. Since then, two more local fracking bans were defeated, one in Loveland, Colorado, on June 24 and one in Youngstown, Ohio, on May 20.
Two out of three fracking bans in California were approved. Voters in Santa Barbara County decisively rejected Measure P. Perhaps the 20 to 1 advantage in campaign spending helped expedite this defeat; Measure P opponents spent over $7 million, while supporters barely broke a quarter million in spending. The slightly lower-profile measures in Mendocino County and San Benito County were approved by voters.
A measure in Butte County was proposed for the 2014 ballot, but the election date for it was delayed until November 2016.
Activists in Youngstown, Ohio, failed for a fourth time to pass their "Community Bill of Rights," which included a fracking ban. Their Issue 4 measure received only 42 percent approval, down from their last attempt in May of 2014 that garnered 46 percent approval. Other anti-fracking "Bills of Rights" in Ohio fared just as poorly, with measures defeated in Kent and Gates Mills. The only fracking ban that found favor with voters in Ohio in 2014 was approved in the city of Athens, giving anti-fracking folks a score of one for four in the Buckeye State. A "Community Bill of Rights" fracking ban initiative was enacted in Niles, Ohio. Petitioners collected enough signatures to qualify it for the ballot, but the city council voted to directly approve it, precluding the necessity of a vote on election day.
Texas, an energy-friendly state to which the oil and gas industry has brought substantial wealth, was the only state to feature a perfect approval record for anti-fracking measures, with just one ban proposed and approved. This measure was approved in Denton and is the first local law in the state to permanently prohibit the process of hydraulic fracturing. A lawsuit was immediately filed against the initiative, however, by the Texas Oil and Gas Association.
- See also: Local GMO on the ballot
Two local initiatives banning genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were approved early in 2014 in Oregon, one in Jackson County and one in Josephine County. The Jackson County measure generated impressive campaign spending, with over $1.3 million in total, combining the support campaign and the deep-pocketed but unsuccessful opposition. Despite state legislation seeking to preclude local GMO bans, activists launched efforts to qualify similar measures for the ballot in Lane County and Benton County. Although several lawsuits were filed against the sponsors of these petitions, activists planned to put the measures before voters in 2015 or 2016.
Two local measures, one in Humboldt County, California, and one in Maui County, Hawaii, sought to prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Both measures were approved on November 4, 2014. The very high-profile and contentious Maui County measure, however, was a very close race with just 51 percent of the electorate voting "yes." Opponents of this measure broke local campaign spending records by amassing a war chest of over $9.7 million, largely donated by Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, LLC, the two companies that expected to be hit the hardest by the new restrictions on GMOs. This measure was immediately tied up in court by the giant agro-chemical businesses.
- See also: Local wages and pay on the ballot
In March, Chicago featured the first of many local measures concerning a minimum wage increase, where voters in a sampling of city precincts overwhelmingly approved an advisory question asking for a $15 per hour minimum wage for large companies.
Philadelphia voters were the next to speak out about minimum wage at the ballot box. On May 20, 2014, they overwhelmingly approved a measure that required the city to apply the same minimum wage that direct city contractors receive to indirect city contractors as well. This measure, combined with an executive order from Mayor Michael Nutter, resulted in a minimum wage of $12.00 per hour designed to begin on January 1, 2015, for all direct and indirect city contractors.
In Washington, where SeaTac City voters were the first to approve a $15 per hour minimum wage, compensation for low-wage workers has been an important issue. An initiative effort to increase the minimum wage in Seattle was rewarded by the city council approving a $15 per hour minimum wage itself, which was immediately challenged by an ultimately unsuccessful veto referendum.
Minimum wage proved to be a hot button issue for the November 4 election in 2014 as well, and many other local measures were seen seeking minimum wage increases.
In most of the places where local voters saw minimum wage increase measures, they approved them. Whether in San Francisco or Oakland, California, or in local advisory questions across Wisconsin, voters mostly said "yes." One measure, however, seeking a $12 per hour minimum wage in a small city called Eureka in northern California was rejected by a margin of 62 to 38 percent.
Las Cruces, the second largest cities in New Mexico, also featured an initiative seeking a minimum wage increase on the November ballot. The measure qualified for the ballot, but it was approved directly by the city council, making an election unnecessary.
Marijuana was featured heavily in both state and local measures on November 4. For a rundown of statewide results on the issue see this page.
- See also: Notable Washington, D.C, measures
Everyone interested in the fate of cannabis prohibition turned their eyes towards the nation's capital, where Initiative 71 was proposed to legalize marijuana according to city law. Those who favor legal marijuana were not disappointed. Nearly 65 percent of voters approved the initiative. The measure, however, will necessitate some conflict resolution between the city government and the federal government - especially Congress - as law makers try to smooth out the conflicts between the capital's new law and federal law prohibiting recreational marijuana use.
- See also: Notable Michigan measures
In Michigan, supporters of marijuana legalization were, perhaps, a little disappointed by local results. The Safer Michigan Coalition saw their near perfect record with local legalization initiatives tarnished by four decisive losses and one measure that, when all ballots were counted, ended up behind by just a handful of votes. Six measures making small amounts of marijuana legal according to local law were approved, giving the pro-marijuana enthusiasts a winning score of just over 50 percent at the polls on November 4, 2014. For information on all local measures concerning marijuana in Michigan, visit this page.
- See also: Notable Colorado measures
In April of 2014, voters in Palmer Lake, Colorado, defeated a veto referendum targeting a local ban on recreational marijuana, leaving the prohibition intact. If they had approved the measure, the retail sale of recreational pot would have been legal according to both state law, through Amendment 64, and local law.
Colorado featured a smorgasbord of local measures concerning marijuana on November 4 as well. Some asked to legalize retail sale of pot and marijuana shops, while others asked to prohibit the operation of pot shops. In the end the election results were just as mixed; two prohibitions against retail sale of marijuana were approved and two were defeated. All five of the measures seeking to explicitly allow the retail sale of marijuana, however, were defeated by the time all the ballots were counted, although one was only behind by a small margin. For details see this page.
- See also: Notable Maine measures
In Maine, one measure seeking local legalization was approved and one was defeated.
- See also: Notable New Mexico measures
Voters in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties got to express their opinion on legal marijuana through advisory questions. Although no legally binding effect was produced, voters in both counties decisively approved an end to pot prohibition, with an approval rate of nearly 60 percent in Bernalillo County and an overwhelming 73 percent in Santa Fe County.
- See also: Notable California measures
A Long Beach election in April of 2014 featured a marijuana tax measure, Measure A, that could restrict medical marijuana use through making it slightly more expensive. The possibility of keeping marijuana from needy patients through prices boosted by the tax was the basis for many of the unsuccessful arguments opponents used against what they called an unfair tax measure, which imposed a sales tax of 6 percent on all medical marijuana and gave the city power to raise the rate to a maximum of 10 percent. The measure also authorized an annual tax of at least $15 - with a potential maximum of $50 - per square foot for pot plant cultivation spaces in marijuana dispensaries. Many pro-marijuana activists were proponents of the tax, eager to pay taxes in exchange for seeing a legal medical marijuana presence in the city. Proponents generally argued that the tax would bring in essential revenue to the city.
A variety of proposals seeking to increase or decrease regulation of medical marijuana cultivation and dispensaries were seen by voters in California on November 4, 2014. For details about each measure and its results see here.
- See also: Notable Massachusetts measures
Results for the advisory-only public policy questions featured on ballots in eight legislative districts showed approval in each case. Details can be found here.
- See also: Local pensions on the ballot
One of the most notable pension-related measure of the year in California was slated for the November ballot in Ventura County, California, where the Committee for Pension Fairness was working with the Ventura County Taxpayers Association to move new county employees from a defined benefit plan to a 401(k)-style, defined contribution plan. The measure was ruled illegal in district court, however, where the ruling sharply limited the possibilities of reform in many other counties throughout California.
A similar measure - Proposition 487 - was on the ballot for voters in the city of Phoenix, Arizona, where a group called Citizens for Pension Reform, working with the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, collected over 54,000 signatures to qualify its initiative for an election. Phoenix voters, however, decisively defeated the initiative.
Five pension-related measures made local California ballots in 2014. All five were approved.
Measure A was overwhelmingly approved on June 3, 2014. The Orange County system requires contributions to the public pension fund from both employees and employers. Prior to Measure A, however, the county was allowed to pay the employee contribution on behalf of many county officials. Measure A prohibited the county from paying the mandatory employee contributions to the pension fund for county supervisors or any other elected county officials.
Measure Y was one element of the comprehensive charter reform recommended by the Porterville Charter Review Committee, which took the form of 14 ballot measures. Measure Y ensured that the city's charter was consistent with the California Constitution with regard to pensions and pension benefit termination. It also affirmed that the city retained full power over its pension system, including the power to create, modify or eliminate pension and healthcare benefits, provided alterations are consistent with state law.
Measure A concerned the financial problem of unfunded pension liabilities. It authorized the city to issue $8 million in bonds in order to refinance a $7.8 million side fund debt owed to CalPERS, seeking a lower interest rate than the 7.5 percent that CalPERS was charging.
In Oakland, voters had an easy pension decision to make. Measure EE was designed to replace an old, closed-down pension system - the Oakland Municipal Employee's Retirement System (OMERS) - with pre-purchased insurance annuities. OMERS was closed for new hires in 1970 and was replaced by participation in the pension giant CalPERS. As of November 4, 2014, the old system still paid for the retirement benefits of 22 former employees. Analysts found that the city could get more money back from the fund if it purchased annuities from insurance companies guaranteeing the same benefits to the remaining retirees. The estimated savings amounted to nine tenths of a million dollars, making Measure EE an simple sell to the voters.
When elected officials request a raise or increased benefits, voters are compelled to think long and hard about whether the public servants in question have earned it. When they request to have benefits cut, however, allowing more money to remain in the pockets of taxpayers, voters tend to have an easy choice. Measure JJ in the city of Yorba Linda was one such proposal. Upon approval, Measure JJ eliminated the pension and healthcare benefits for city council members going forward. Unsurprisingly, over 85 percent of voters were on board.
- Ballotpedia did not cover any local ballot measure elections in January.
- Ballotpedia did not cover any local ballot measure elections in October.
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in California
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in Colorado
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in Florida
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in Hawaii
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in Kansas
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in Maine
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in Massachusetts
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in Michigan
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in Minnesota
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in New Mexico
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in Ohio
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in Washington, D.C.
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in Wisconsin
- Ballotpedia did not cover any local ballot measure elections in December.
- See also: Local ballot measures, Alaska
- See also: Local ballot measures, Arizona
- See also: Local ballot measures, California
- City of Marysville Sales Tax, Measure W (November 2014)
- City of Marysville Sales Tax Revenue Expenditure Advisory Question, Measure Y (November 2014)
- Olivehurst Public Utilities Fire Service Area Parcel Tax, Measure X (November 2014)
- Vallejo City Unified School District Bond Issue, Measure E (November 2014)
- Vacaville Unified School District Bond Issue, Measure A (November 2014)
- See also: Local ballot measures, Colorado
- Town of Palisade Retail Marijuana Legalization, Measure 2A (November 2014)
- Cañon City Marijuana Retail Legalization, Measure 2C (November 2014)
- Town of Palmer Lake Recreational Marijuana Retail Ban, Measure 301 (November 2014)
- Town of Palmer Lake Marijuana Retail Legalization & Taxation, Measure 300 (November 2014)
- Town of Ramah Marijuana Retail Legalization, Measure 2B (November 2014)
- See also: Local ballot measures, Florida
- Marion County One Mill School Funding Referendum
- City of Miami David Beckham's Soccer Stadium Referendum (November 2014)
- Alachua County Citizens United Advisory Referendum: "Corporations are not People, Money is not Speech" (November 2014)
- See also: Local ballot measures, Idaho
- City of Pocatello Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression Discrimination Referendum, Proposition 1 (May 2014)
- See also: Local ballot measures, Illinois
- Johnson County Fracking Ban Referendum (March 2014)
- City of Chicago $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage Referendum (March 2014)
- See also: Local ballot measures, Kansas
- See also: Local ballot measures, Michigan
- City of Clare Marijuana Decriminalization Proposal (November 2014)
- City of Portage Marijuana Decriminalization Proposal (November 2014)
- Grosse Pointe Park Marijuana Decriminalization Proposal (November 2014)
- City of Huntington Woods Marijuana Decriminalization Proposal (November 2014)
- City of Pleasant Ridge Marijuana Decriminalization Proposal (November 2014)
- See also: Local ballot measures, Minnesota
- See also: Local ballot measures, Missouri
- See also: Local ballot measures, Nebraska
- See also: Local ballot measures, Ohio
- City of Kent "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Initiative, Issue 21 (November 2014)
- Youngstown "Community Bill of Rights" Frack Ban, Issue 4 (November 2014)
- Village of Gates Mills "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban, Issue 51 (November 2014)
- City of Niles "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Initiative (November 2014)
- City of Athens Fracking Ban Initiative, Issue 7 (November 2014)
- See also: Local ballot measures, Oregon
- Lane County Genetically Modified Organism Ban (2014)
- Josephine County Genetically Modified Organism Ban, Measure 17-58 (May 2014)
- Jackson County Genetically Modified Organism Ban, Measure 15-119 (May 2014)
- See also: Local ballot measures, Washington
- City of Seattle $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage Increase Veto Referendum (November 2014)
- King County Transportation District Sales Tax and Vehicle Registration Fee, Proposition 1 (April 2014), Supporters
- King County Transportation District Sales Tax and Vehicle Registration Fee, Proposition 1 (April 2014)
- April 22, 2014 ballot measures in Washington
- City of Seattle $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage Initiative (November 2014)
- See also: Local ballot measures, Wisconsin
- City of Appleton $10.10 Per Hour State Minimum Wage Advisory Question (November 2014)
- City of Menasha $10.10 Per Hour State Minimum Wage Advisory, Question 2 (November 2014)
- City of Neenah $10.10 Per Hour State Minimum Wage Advisory Question (November 2014)
- Kenosha County $10.10 Per Hour State Minimum Wage Advisory Question (November 2014)
- Milwaukee County $10.10 Per Hour State Minimum Wage Advisory Question (November 2014)
Below are the most notable topics addressed on local ballot measures in 2014.
- see also: Fracking on the ballot
- See also: Local GMO on the ballot
- See also: Local marijuana on the ballot
- See also: Local marijuana tax on the ballot
- See also: Local wages and pay on the ballot
- See also: Local pensions on the ballot
- See also: Notable local measures on the ballot
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