Edited by Brittany Clingen
5 measures for 2013
This week, there are five new certifications to report: two for 2013, two for 2014 and one for 2016. In Colorado, the legislature approved HB 1318. As a result of this bill's passage, two legislatively-referred state statutes will appear on the ballot in the general election on November 5, 2013. One, the Colorado Marijuana Excise Tax, would implement a 15% excise tax on all marijuana sales within the state, if voters choose to approve the measure in November. The revenue from this excise tax would be put toward school construction projects. The other, the Colorado Marijuana Sales Tax, if approved, would enact a 10% sales tax on marijuana. This would be in addition to the existing 2.9% state sales tax and any additional local taxes. The revenue from the sales tax would be used to oversee and regulate the retail marijuana business in the state.
The legislature in Missouri has passed HJR 11, and, as a result, voters will decide whether or not the Missouri Right-to-Farm Amendment, which would explicitly detail the rights of farmers and ranchers to partake in their livelihoods and provide food for others, should be included in the state constitution. This legislatively-referred constitutional amendment will appear on the ballot in the general election on November 4, 2014. The Missouri Cattlemen's Association and other agricultural groups have expressed support for the amendment. However, Sen. Rob Schaaf has expressed concerns over the public's safety if the amendment is adopted, saying that this could lead to a situation in which it is more difficult for state regulators to control super-food poisoning bugs created as a result of feeding antibiotics to livestock.
Another 2014 certification has been confirmed in Arizona. The legislature approved SCR1016, thereby landing a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment on the ballot for the general election on November 4, 2014. If passed by voters, this amendment would create a direct mechanism by which the use of state personnel and financial resources are guaranteed to be employed only for purposes that are congruent with the Constitution. This state sovereignty measure comes on the heels of a defeated amendment that would have granted sovereignty over Arizona's natural resources based on "equal footing." This measure was rejected by 67.7% of the voters.
Finally, Minnesota is the first state to certify a ballot measure for the general election on November 8, 2016. The Minnesota Legislative Pay Council Amendment will give voters the opportunity to decide whether or not members of the state legislature should have their pay determined by an outside board. If this measure is approved, a special council will be created and tasked specifically with determining the pay of lawmakers. The council would determine new salary rates every two years. Presently, Minnesota legislators haven't received a raise since 1999.
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