The Tuesday Count: Washington certification, Medicaid, and hot button topics in Maryland

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May 7, 2013

Edited by Brittany Clingen

Tuesday Count Lineup:

1 certification
3 measures for 2013

Topics featured in this report

Certification(News)
Guns(2014 watch)
Citizenship(Ballot law)

Another measure is set to appear on the Washington ballot in the general election on November 5, 2013. Initiative 517, also known as the "Protect the Initiative Act," is an Initiative to the Legislature; the legislature did nothing with the measure, thereby referring it to the ballot.[1]

I-517, sponsored by initiative promoter Tim Eyman, would define what constitutes interference with or retaliation against petition-signers and signature gatherers. It would also render these acts a criminal misdemeanor and subject perpetrators to penalties. Furthermore, I-517 would mandate that all measures receiving the required number of signatures be placed on the ballot, and it would increase the amount of time supporters of a measure have to file and gather signatures from 10 months to 16 months before the corresponding election.[1]

The full text of the measure can be found here.

The Colorado Funding for Public Schools Initiative has finally received the green light to formally begin their campaign efforts after Colorado's legislature passed Senate Bill 213.[2]

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Johnston (D-33), would create a new school finance act that increases state revenues to fund public education.[3] However, SB 213 has no funding language in the bill. Therefore, though it has passed the legislature, its viability will be determined if and when voters approve the initiative to be featured on the November 5, 2013 ballot.[2]

There are currently 16 proposed ballot initiatives that have been submitted to the Secretary of State by supporters, each varying slightly in the structure by which Colorado residents would be taxed. Some are in favor of a tiered system, others a flat tax. Regardless of which initiative moves forward toward the ballot, voters will ultimately be deciding whether or not to approve a $1.1 billion tax increase that will be siphoned into public education.[2]

Supporters of both SB 213 and the initiatives have until August 5, 2013 to collect 86,105 valid signatures and determine which initiative should be sent to voters.[2]

The Ohio-based Center for Community Solutions, a nonpartisan policy institute that focuses on studying and promoting the well-being of people in need, is toying with the idea of putting the expansion of Medicaid before voters in either 2013 or 2014.[4][5]

The House removed a proposed Medicaid expansion from Gov. John Kasich's (R) budget before forwarding it to the Senate, where Senate President Keith Faber (R-12) said that the upper chamber's version of the budget also excluded the expansion of Medicaid. Senate Democrats are still hopeful they can introduce a bill similar to Kasich's that could be voted on.[5]

John Begala, executive director of the Center for Community Solutions, is still optimistic that Medicaid expansion can be handled within the legislature, as opposed to putting it before voters. Speaking about the potential ballot measure, Begala said, "Our first preference is certainly not to go this route. This is our last resort."[5]

2014 watch

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Opposition groups are springing up in Maryland in response to Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) divisive decision to repeal the death penalty. Those in support of capital punishment have begun circulating petitions, in hopes of landing the veto referendum on the November 4, 2014 ballot. Those who support the governor's decision say they will fight back if the issue goes to voters.[6]

Supporters of the Maryland Death Penalty Repeal include the group MDPetitions.com, which is sponsoring the campaign, and Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger, who said, "We need to retain Maryland's death penalty for those prosecutors who want to seek it in the appropriate case."[6]

Opponents of the potential referendum include the NAACP and the Catholic Church, both groups that hope the question will never reach the ballot. The campaign must collect a total 55,736 valid signatures by June 30, and at least 18,579 of those signatures must be submitted by May 31.[6]

2014 Count
Number: Sixteen measures
States: Arkansas, California, Montana Nevada, Tennessee, and Wyoming

Also in Maryland, activist Sue Payne is commencing a campaign to put a veto referendum on the ballot for the general election on November 4, 2014.[7]

Disappointed after neither the NRA nor MDPetitions.com decided to fight the recently-passed gun control bill due to the potentially high costs of such a venture, Payne took it upon herself to launch the Maryland Gun Control Referendum and will soon establish a website that will allow voters to download and sign petitions supporting the referendum.[7]

Like the Maryland Death Penalty Repeal, Payne and other supporters have until the end of June to gather all the required signatures.[7]

Quick hits

Louisiana voters will not decide on superintendent of education elections: On Wednesday, May 1, the Louisiana Senate Education Committee rejected a potential legislatively-referred constitutional amendment that would have allowed voters the chance to decide on whether or not the state superintendent of education should be an elected position. Sen. Robert Kostelka (R-35) sponsored the legislation, Senate Bill 41, and is apparently not satisfied with current superintendent of education, John White. In a hearing before the committee, he reportedly said, "If someone wants to elect someone as bad as John White, they can do it." Chas Roemer, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, argued against the bill, saying that the state's biggest improvements in the area of public education have taken place under appointed superintendents.[8]

New York governor asks for casino vote to wait another year: New York governor, Andrew Cuomo (D), asked state lawmakers on Wednesday, May 1, to delay a public vote on the New York Casino Gambling Amendment that many expect to go before voters this fall. Governor Cuomo explained that since 2013 is an off-year election, a high percentage of voter turnout will likely be concentrated in New York City due to the mayoral election. Since the proposed casinos would be located away from the city in upstate New York, Cuomo is concerned that there will not be enough voter support. Supporters of casinos in New York also expect an extensive ad campaign financed by outside casinos against their plan. According to a poll conducted by Siena College, New York citizens showed only a small majority approval of casinos within the state's boundaries.[9]

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Spotlight

More than $700 million in bond money requested in today's election

Ballotpedia is covering elections in California and Michigan today:

California

California
In California there are 9 measures being voted on in four counties in today's election.
  • 6 parcel tax measures
  • 2 territory transfer measures
  • 1 sanitary district consolidation measure

Measures in Marin County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County.

For full coverage of each measure in this election and election results follow this page.


Michigan:

Michigan
There are 152 measures on the ballots in this election.
  • 118 local property tax measures, 96 of which are for school districts
  • 30 school bond measures, requesting a total of $745,345,000
  • 2 city bond measures, requesting a total of $4,700,000
  • 2 township zoning measures

Notable measure:

For full coverage of each measure in this election and the election results, follow this page.


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Ballot Law Update

Florida legislature passes massive elections reform: On Friday, May 3, the Florida legislature passed a bill that makes sweeping changes to the elections process in the state. The changes include moving the date of the presidential primary, expanding options for where early voting can be done, and extending the time allotted for early voting, something Gov. Rick Scott (R) and the legislature cut just two years ago. Another part of the bill sets a 75 word limit on the summaries of constitutional amendments referred to the ballot by the legislature. An exemption to that limit is allowed, however, if the state supreme court rejects the measure, and it needs to be revised. The change comes after some argued that the excessive ballot summaries, coupled with a large number of referrals, added to the problem of long poll lines in 2012.[10]

Michigan voters to answer citizenship question on ballot: After a legal battle last year over a similar proposal, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has successfully included language to the state's ballot application that reminds voters that they must be U.S. citizens in order to cast their ballots. Secretary Johnson cited the recent filing of a criminal charge against a citizen of Mexico who registered and voted in Rosevill, MI, as a reason why the language is needed. Some have questioned the necessity of the language due to the fact that voters must present photo identification when they cast their ballots.[11]


A new update will be released next month. Click here for past Ballot Law Update reports!

See also

2013 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2013 Scorecard

References