The Tuesday Count: State's voters to decide on tax increase in the newest addition to 2012 count

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November 29, 2011

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Edited by Al Ortiz

Signs of life have surfaced from the 2012 ballot measure count after almost a full month of inactivity. The total number of ballot measures has jumped from 56 to 57 in 23 states with the addition of a citizen initiative in South Dakota regarding a sales tax increase.

The measure, which will be called Initiated Measure 15 on the statewide ballot, is proposing to implement a one-percent sales tax increase, from 4 to 5 percent, that would begin in 2013. Specifically, the measure would take 20 percent of the revenue and place it in the South Dakota Moving Forward Fund.

Supporters say that the proposal would give schools approximately $725 more per student annually and about $70 million would be added to Medicaid reimbursement rates per year, according to reports. Additionally, the state would receive $18 million of generated revenue to handle increased Medicaid caseloads.

Signatures for the measure were submitted to the secretary of state's office on the day of the deadline, November 1. The signatures were then validated in order for the measure to make the ballot. According to reports signatures were verified on November 23 by the South Dakota Secretary of State's office.

Meanwhile, initiatives in the state of Massachusetts are looking for their own place on the statewide ballot. The first of many hurdles in the state's initiative process arrived for supporters of proposed 2012 statewide ballot questions just before Thanksgiving. November 23 marked the day petition signatures for proposals must have been filed to local registrars.

According to current reports out of the state, out of the 23 circulating initiative efforts, three declared that they had collected enough signatures, 68,911 to be exact, to begin the next process required by state initiative law.[1]

The three measures included the "death with dignity" initiative, the proposal to require car manufacturers to give non-proprietary diagnostic directly to consumers to repair their cars and the initiative to create a new teacher evaluation process.

The initiative process in the state of Massachusetts is one of the most complicated in the country, leaving only a handful of proposals in recent years to go through the entire process. In 2010, thirty measures were filed, and only three made the ballot. In 2012, thirty-one were filed, 23 were authorized for circulation, and it appears most of them have fallen short. The Massachusetts Attorney General's office has not reported who filed signatures by the deadline. Developments are still pending as signatures are being verified. Once reports have confirmed what initiative efforts filed signatures, updates will be reported.

One other initiative effort, this time in Ohio, may have enough signatures to turn in by the December 25 petition drive deadline and earn a place before voters in 2012. Supporters of the redistricting map veto referendum declared this past week that they are well on their way to ballot access, and hope to have signatures turned in by December 23. The Ohio Democratic Party, the main supporters of the referendum, stated that they had surpassed 100,000 signatures during the weekend of November 25.[2]

A minimum of 231,149 valid petition signatures are required to qualify the proposed referendum for the 2012 statewide ballot.

Proposals with recent activity

Quick hits

  • Amendment do-over: This past month, revisions to the 2012 ballot-certified Florida Amendment 4 have been introduced. Sen. David Simmons asked that legislators amend or replace the language in Amendment 4, arguing that the amendment will "penalize new home ownership." The proposed revision, SJR 314, would lower the super exemption.


SPOTLIGHT:Local governments continue to add issues to 2012 ballots
As 2011 comes to a close, local governments are adding more issues to election ballots in 2012. In Illinois, several municipalities have added electrical aggregation measures to the March 20 primary election. These proposals would allow local governments to buy electricity in bulk, for residents and small businesses who wanted to be a part of the program, and allow them to obtain lower rates through bargaining with multiple suppliers. So far, twelve municipalities have added this issue to their ballots in March. School districts in Michigan have started to add issues to their 2012 ballots, with Ann Arbor and Ferndale school measures already on the February 28 ballot. In Ohio, the Pataskala Library will try again on March 6 to pass a levy renewal which failed in November, while both Licking County and Sandusky County will seek additional levies for their county Disabilities Boards. School measures are also being added in Washington, with the Issaquah School District seeking a bond measure in April and both the Central Kitsap School District and the Tumwater School District seeking levy increases on the February 14 ballot.

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It has been reported that a Maine ballot initiative has collected the required 57,277 signatures to be considered for the ballot. What topic does the measure deal with?
Click to find out!

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Guam Decolonization Election: With Guam's self-determination vote most likely headed to voters in 2014, legal wrangling over the process has already begun. Arnold Davis, a Guam resident represented by the Center for Individual Rights, has filed suit against the Guam Election Commission for racial discrimination. Under the existing law of Guam, only native inhabitants are eligible to participate in the plebiscite. Although the definition of "native inhabitant" includes all those naturalized by the Guam Organic Act of 1950 and their descendants regardless of race, CIR argues that provision was intended to exclude members of non-Chamorro racial groups. This, contends CIR, violates the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Guam.[3]

  • The relevant section of the Guam Code Annotated can be found here.
  • The revised text of the Guam Organic Act can be found here.
A new update will be released tomorrow. Click here for past Ballot Law Update reports!

See also

2012 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2012 Scorecard