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Edited by Al Ortiz
Two freshly certified measures for the 2012 ballot have sprung up in California and Ohio. With the pair of proposals making their way to a public vote, the 2012 count bumps up to 59 ballot questions in 24 states.
Californians will now have their hands full of initiatives next year with a third citizen-initiated measure approved for ballot access on December 6 by the California Secretary of State. The measure would prohibit the government from deducting union dues from government employee paychecks that will be used for political purposes. In addition, the proposal would ban contributions to candidate-controlled committees by corporations and labor unions as well as ban contractors who receive government contracts from donating to the officeholder who awarded the contract.
The measure will appear on the November 6, 2012 ballot, joining the water bond measure that would allow the state government to borrow $11.1 billion to overhaul the state's water system. Unlike the paycheck initiative, the water bond measure is a legislative referral. On June 5, 2012, state voters will decide on two other citizen initiatives on the ballot.
The other certification to appear this week came in the state of Ohio, where a referendum will present itself to voters come November 2012. An election law veto referendum will ask voters whether or not to repeal a law that was recently passed in the state of Ohio that would move future primary election dates from March to May, among other provisions.
Additionally, the measure would shorten the period of mail-in absentee voting from 35 days before the election to 21. The number of days residents can vote early would be limited to 14 days before the election. Currently, the number of days residents can vote early is also 35 days.
Ohio has been laden with veto referendums recently, as more than one month ago, voters decided on Ohio Issue 2, the successful repeal of Senate Bill 5. In addition, a current referendum is circulating that would overturn the congressional redistricting plan that made its way through the Ohio General Assembly.
Initiative news is also beginning to gain momentum in Alaska and North Dakota. In Alaska, a coastal management program proposal got the go-ahead to collect signatures for ballot certification. The initiated state statute would establish a new coastal management program in the state. It was submitted to the Lieutenant Governor's office during the week of October 5, 2011 by Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho and other supporters of the initiative. Specifically, the management program that would be established would be formally called the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program.
Alaska is the only coastal state in the country without a federal coastal management plan, according to reports. Coastal programs are established to guarantee state and local participation in federal decisions on coastal issues that could potentially surface.
Supporters must now collect 25,875 signatures by the January 17, 2011 petition drive deadline.
North Dakotans could get a chance to display their school spirit by deciding whether or not to allow for the University of North Dakota to use the "Fighting Sioux" nickname and logo by repealing Senate Bill 2370, a law that repealed an earlier mandate requiring the use of the nickname. Two versions of the referendum were filed by supporters, and approval to circulate the proposal could come sooner rather than later, although reports have not stated if the petitions have been approved as of today.
SB 2370 went into effect on December 1, 2011, and the university has begun the process, expected to be mostly done by January, of retiring the nickname and logo.
The measure is proposed by members of the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe.