The Tuesday Count: rare occurrences show a 2011 boost, 2012 cutback

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June 28, 2011

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Edited by Bailey Ludlam

The tides have turned. The 2012 Tuesday Count isn't the only year seeing some action. The 2011 Count reveals a grand total of five recently certified ballot measures in the state of Louisiana. This bumps the total count to 21 certifications.

In its last week of legislative session, Louisiana lawmakers referred three constitutional amendments to the ballot. The much debated Louisiana TOPS Scholarship Program Amendment proposes redirecting Tobacco Settlement Proceeds to the TOPS (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students) scholarship program once the balance in the Millennium Trust reaches $1.38 billion. A second measure would provide for deposits and interruption of mineral revenue deposits to the Budget Stabilization Fund. A third, would allow for a minimum of 10% of nonrecurring revenue to be applied toward the state retirement systems.

This week's certifications join two previously referred measures. Louisiana Property Tax Sales Amendment would allow for collectors to offer property in the city of New Orleans for sale with no minimum required bid if the property fails to sell for the minimum required bid the tax sale. This is an existing exemption. All four measures are scheduled to appear on the October 22, 2011 statewide ballot.

Standing alone on the November 19, 2011 statewide ballot is a question about immovable property. The proposal calls for prohibiting new taxes or fees upon the sale or transfer of immovable property.

Despite the new additions for 2011, 2012 may also be facing some changes.

In Arizona, SCOTUS ruled on June 27 that the state Clean Elections Act violated the First Amendment rights of candidates who raise private money for their campaigns. The high court's ruling places into question a proposed measure scheduled to appear on the state November 6, 2012 statewide ballot. The measure calls for disallowing the use of public money to fund political campaigns; the same law nullified by the recent ruling.

A second 2012 measure may also be removed from the ballot in Arkansas. This month the Arkansas Trucking Association asked the Arkansas Governor to remove a proposed diesel tax increase question from the ballot, after initially lobbying for the proposal to be sent to the voters. According to the president of the group, Lane Kidd, the group's polling and research found strong opposition to the state question.[1]

Upcoming, stay tuned for reports as two proposed veto referendum campaigns in Maryland and Ohio come to a close on Thursday, June 30.

The proposed Maryland In-State Tuition Referendum would overturn legislation that guarantees in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. According to earlier reports, a total of 47,288 signatures have already been verified. A total of 55,736 are required to qualify for the ballot.

In Ohio, the campaign for Ohio Senate Bill 5 Veto Referendum comes to a close this week. Just two weeks ago, supporters announced they had collected an estimated 714,137 signatures. In order to qualify for the ballot, 400,000 valid signatures are required.

Proposals with recent activity


SPOTLIGHT: Loxhatchee Water District Board - to elect or not?
In Loxahatchee Groves Florida, a vote will be held today, June 28. The proposed question asks residents if they the current system of voting for members of the water control district board should be changed to allow for a popular vote of at least two members.

The town rests within the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District. The current system allows one vote per acre owned by residents. As a result, residents with smaller plots of land appear to have a smaller voice in who is elected to the board than those with large farms and nurseries. Reports allege that large landowners end up controlling the board and banding together to elect members that will pursue their goals. Small landowners support the proposed measure.

A total of 97 valid signatures were required to ensure approval of the petition. An estimated 245 total were collected. Opponents to the election of members argue that the cost of holding elections is too high, an estimated $36,000, to justify the election of just two members, but proponents noted that the real cost would not be that much if elections were held in conjunction with county elections.

Mayor David Browning, however, argues that the measure is premature. According to Browning, there are current discussions to merge the water district and the town.[2]

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Mississippi voters will see three measures on the ballot this year. How many of those measures are facing lawsuits? Click to find out!

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Court actions concerning I&R: Last month, more than 30 Colorado officials from both political parties filed suit in federal court, challenging the state's Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). In Kerr et al. v. State of Colorado, opponents charge that the measure is unconstitutionally restrictive since it prevents government from fulfilling its constitutional duties. Mesa and El Paso Counties, home to Grand Junction and Colorado Springs, respectively, have officially denounced the lawsuit. While the Mesa County Resolution urges the court to uphold the amendment, the El Paso County Resolution additionally authorizes the County Attorney to intervene in the case. Other Colorado counties are reportedly considering similar resolutions. The Colorado Attorney General has 60 days to respond to the May 23 lawsuit.

Bills to watch: * California Senate Constitutional Amendment 4: SCA 4 would require California ballot initiatives that mandate expenditures to specify a funding source sufficient for revenue neutrality. Proposed measures would be evaluated by the Legislative Analyst and the Director of Finance to ensure compliance. SCA 4 has been passed out of the Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee.[3] Citizens in Charge Foundation rating: Reduces initiative rights.

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See also

2011 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2011 Scorecard