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Ballotpedia's 2011 Ballot Measures Breakdown: Ohio and Texas

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October 21, 2011

Breakdown of 2011 ballot measures: Ohio and Texas
OHTX2011breakdown.png

By Al Ortiz

OHIO and TEXAS, United States: The homestretch towards the 2011 elections has arrived, and with the penultimate breakdown report, we turn our focus to Ohio and Texas. Both states have measures on the ballot that could turn heads this fall, with Ohio voters focusing on one big ballot issue that has been staring them in the face since the beginning of the year.

In Texas, the long hot summer wasn't kind to the Lone Star State, and legislators took notice, sending a pair of measures to voters dealing with the ongoing drought. Both states in this week's report have very different ballots as far as numbers are concerned, but both ballots offer various talking points in the political world.

Overview

State Number of measures in 2009 Number of measures in 2011 Change between the two years
Ohio 3 3 0
Texas 11 10 -1

Magnifying the states

Ohio

Ohio

The Ohio ballot is full of measures that have gained attention across the state, but not one has been greater than Issue 2. The measure could be the biggest statewide ballot measure across the country in terms of campaign contributions, possible impacts, controversies surrounding ballot text and campaign advertisements, and the multiple endorsements both in favor and in opposition to the measure.

This veto referendum against the Senate Bill 5 collective bargaining bill will be on the November 2011 ballot. Voters will decide whether or not to repeal SB 5, legislation signed in March 2011 that would limit collective bargaining for public employees in the state.

Senate Bill 5 will impact the state's 400,000 public workers, restricting their ability to strike and collectively bargain. As it stands, the bill would only permit public employees to collectively bargain for wages, preventing them from collectively bargaining for health insurance and pensions. It would also prohibit all public employees from striking and could increase employee contributions for pensions and healthcare.

The measure was placed on the ballot after petition drive organizers, in a record breaking performance, submitted a grand total of 1,298,301 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State on June 29, 2011 in a parade marching towards the secretary's offices. This broke the previously held record of 812,978 signatures in 2008 for a constitutional amendment allowing a casino resort in Clinton County.

According to the ballot language, a 'yes' vote is a vote to keep Senate Bill 5 a law, and a 'no' vote would repeal the legislation.

The two other measures set in stone for November is Issue 1, which would raise the age of those occupying judicial office from 70 to 76. Issue 3 would exempt residents of Ohio from national health care mandates which would stop any state law from forcing persons, employers or health care providers from participating in a health care system. The measure was sponsored and circulated by The Ohio Project in response to President Barack Obama's signing of a national health care mandate law in 2010.

See which Ohio newspapers are for and against these measures here.


Impacts of 2011 measures:



Notable Quotes:

"When you're trying to turn things around and set the state on the right path, you're going to ruffle a few feathers...Our teachers and firefighters and police officers are some of the most important people I know. We want you to have a good job and we want you to have good benefits...We have to live in reality, and we have to live within our means".[1]
  • Cincinnati firefighter Doug Stern, in a news release release from We Are Ohio, the main campaign behind the measure:
“I’m honored to stand with my fellow first responders today to say I’m voting NO on Issue 2 because Senate Bill 5 goes too far. Senate Bill 5 makes it illegal for me to fight for safe staffing levels. This puts the safety of the people I’m trying to serve and protect, as well as my safety at risk.”[2]

Looking ahead:

The following are measures that have been proposed for the 2012 statewide ballot:


Texas

Texas

Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the state's ballot measure count. Texans will get a chance to vote on 11 ballot measures referred by the state legislature, one less than 2009's ballot. A small theme of this year's ballot, a direct result of the ongoing drought in the region, is the state's water supply.

The Lower Colorado River Authority reports that "the 11 months from October 2010 through August 2011 have been the driest for that 11-month period in Texas since 1895.” Economists estimate over $5.2 billion just in agricultural losses as a result of the prolonged drought. This extreme heat has many Texans thinking about their state's ability to adequately supply them with water in the coming years. Lawmakers seeking solutions to ever-worsening shortages have placed two water-related constitutional amendments on the ballot. One proposed amendment, Proposition 2, seeks to add supply by increasing available funding for water projects. The other, Proposition 8, seeks to combat Texas's water problems by encouraging conservation via tax policy.[3][4]

Four other measures in the state deal with the administration of government topic. For example, Proposition 9 grant power to the Governor allowed to grant pardons related to deferred adjudication community supervision.

To view the Texas-sized ballot measure list that will face voters at the polls, click here.


Impacts of 2011 measures:


Notable quotes:

  • The Dallas Morning News supporting Prop 2:
"With Texas’ population doubling by 2060, and droughts challenging water supplies, Texans clearly need to finance water projects. Proposition 2 on the Nov. 8 ballot will help immensely. The constitutional amendment would let the Texas Water Development Board maintain programs that help communities finance initiatives, such as those dealing with sewage water, water storage and flood control."[5]
  • Opponents' arguments of Prop. 2, according to the Texas House Research Organization overview:
"Proposition 8 is unnecessary because it would duplicate existing options under wildlife management valuation, mainly erosion control and habitat stewardship. Landowners in Texas also already enjoy several tax breaks, so expanding an existing exemption to include water stewardship would be excessive and unnecessary. "[6]


Looking ahead:

According to Article III of the Texas Constitution, the Texas Legislature will not begin the next scheduled session until 2013.



Next week's Breakdown: Washington
Last week's Breakdown: Mississippi and New Jersey

See also

Ballotpedia News



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