Massachusetts 2014 ballot measures
Four statewide ballot measures were on the November 4, 2014, ballot in the state of Massachusetts. Two of them were approved - thereby limiting gas taxes and expanding employee access to sick time - while the other two were defeated, thereby leaving intact the state's beverage container recycling law and a law allowing resort casinos to operate in the state.
A total of 33 initiatives were filed for signature circulation. However, many of these were repeat filings of nearly identical initiatives. Initiative sponsors sometimes file multiple versions of the same measure in order to increase the likelihood of it landing on the ballot. Of these 33, a total of 16 unique measures were filed; however, nine failed to meet the requirements necessary to move forward with the initiative process.
Five of the citizen initiatives remained in the running for a time, but, ultimately, only four were certified for the November ballot. Massachusetts has a complicated system of circulating and confirming initiatives for the ballot. Supporters of the measures first had to submit their initiative, signed by ten voters, to the Massachusetts Attorney General by August 7, 2013. The attorney general then had to determine whether the measure met the legal requirements for circulation.
In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters were required to collect a minimum of 68,911 valid signatures by November 20, 2013, and submit them to local registrars for certification. Certified petitions were then successfully filed with the secretary of state on the December 4, 2013, deadline, after which the secretary of state determined whether enough valid signatures had been collected. The Massachusetts General Court had until May 7, 2014, to either accept or reject the measure or take no action. No action was taken on any of the measures; therefore, the original supporters had to collect an additional 11,485 signatures and submit them to local registrars for certification by June 18, 2014. These signatures then had to be filed with the secretary of state no later than July 2, 2014.
- Between 1990 and 2013, an average of four measures appeared annually on the ballot in Massachusetts. Therefore, 2014 was an average year.
- From 1990 to 2014, the number of measures on statewide ballots ranged from one to eight.
- Between 1990 and 2014, 27 of 50, or 54 percent, of Massachusetts ballot measures were approved by voters.
- Conversely, 23 of 50, or 46 percent, of measures were defeated.
On the ballot
|CISS||Question 1||Gas taxes||Repeals 2013 law that automatically increases gas taxes according to inflation|
|CISS||Question 2||Environment||Expands the state’s beverage container recycling law to include all non-alcoholic containers|
|CISS||Question 3||Gambling||Repeals a 2011 law allowing resort casinos|
|CISS||Question 4||Labor||Entitles certain employees to earn and utilize paid sick days|
Not on the ballot
The following measures did not appear on the 2014 ballot. Two measures, one on corporate personhood and one regarding GMOs, were not certified by the Office of the Attorney General and thus were ineligible to appear on the ballot. Seven others failed to file signatures with the Secretary of State by the necessary date. Supporters withdrew one measure after turning in signatures because the legislature acted favorably on their issue and raised the minimum wage. The remaining two failed to collect enough valid signatures.
|Corporations are not People Initiative||Business||Adds to the constitution provisions regarding corporate involvement in politics|
|Constitutional Guarantee of Health Care Initiative||Health Care||Adds constitutional provision ensuring that all residents have access to “comprehensive, affordable and equitably financed” health care|
|CISS||Decrease State Sales Tax Initiative||Taxes||Decreases the state sales tax rate from 6.25% to 5%|
|CISS||Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods Initiative||Business||Requires labeling for genetically modified foods|
|CISS||New Hire Incentive Initiative||Taxes||Provides corporate taxpayers with a tax credit for each newly hired employee|
|CISS||Prohibit Deployment of State National Guard Initiative||War & Peace||Prohibits the governor from deploying the state national guard outside state borders|
|CISS||Whale and Sea Turtle Protection Initiative||Environment||Prohibits Division of Marine Fisheries from authorizing commercial use of fishing gear known to harm whales and sea turtles|
|CISS||Repeal of Sales Tax on Computer Technology Initiative||Taxes||Eliminates sales and use taxes on computer system design services|
|CISS||Permanent Daylight Saving Time Initiative||Time||Makes daylight savings time the year-round standard time in the state|
|CISS||Minimum Wage Increase Initiative||Minimum wage||Increases the minimum wage from $8 to $10.50 over two years|
|CISS||Nurses to Patients Ratio Initiative||Healthcare||Limits how many patients can be assigned to a registered nurse in hospitals and certain other facilities|
|CISS||Regulation of Hospital Operating Margins and CEO Compensation Initiative||Business||Regulates the annual operating margins, CEO compensation and financial asset disclosures of certain healthcare facilities that accept state funds|
- 2014 ballot measures
- List of Massachusetts ballot measures
- History of Initiative & Referendum in Massachusetts
- Massachusetts signature requirements
- Massachusetts Attorney General petition filings and status
- Massachusetts Attorney General, "Initiative Petition Process, 2013-2014"
- State Ballot Question Petitions, "CALENDAR FOR AN INITIATIVE PETITION FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT," accessed December 3, 2013
- South Coast Today, "Bottle bill expansion, limits to gas-tax on track for 2014 ballot," December 4, 2013
- Weymouth News, "State House News -- Initiative petition campaigns keep on pace for 2014 ballot," December 4, 2013
- Massachusetts Secretary of State, "State Ballot Question Petitions," accessed May 13, 2014
State of Massachusetts
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