The Tuesday Count: First report of 2013 shows new year, new flood of proposals

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January 8, 2013

The Tuesday Count reports on ballot measure news and tracks all measures that make statewide ballots across the country (ballot certifications).

Edited by Al Ortiz

Just three days into the new year of 2013, supporters in Washington filed signatures for their initiatives in hopes of either having their proposal made into a law, or having it placed on the November 2013 statewide ballot. In all, two initiative efforts filed signatures with the Washington Secretary of State a day before the January 4 deadline.

Despite the high level of activity in the statewide ballot measure world, there are no ballot measure certifications to report in this first edition of the Tuesday Count in 2013.

0 certifications
0 measures for 2013

Initiative laws(News)
Marijuana(2014 watch)
Primary voting(Ballot law)

Tuesday Count weekly news...

The old saying of "the early bird catches the worm", can be fittingly applied to two 2013 initiative efforts in the state of Washington.

According to the Washington Secretary of State, the pair of circulating petition efforts planned to file their signatures a day before the January 4 deadline.

Both proposals are initiatives to the legislature, which means that if a petition for a certain initiative has enough signatures, it is sent to the state legislature for review. If the legislature chooses not to enact the proposal, it is then sent to the statewide ballot that year.

One initiative, Initiative 517, would implement penalties for intimidating, harassing, interfering or retaliating against petition drive efforts for a ballot initiative. In addition, the measure would require that all initiative efforts that obtain the required amount of signatures be placed on the ballot, which would limit pre-election legal challenges. [1]

More provisions of the proposed law can be read here.

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The other initiative, Initiative 522, would require GMO labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways.

Just down the road, California voters pulled their levers on Proposition 37, a measure that ultimately would have lead to a similar requirement.

Initiative 517 was scheduled to turn in signatures at 10 a.m. PST, while Initiative 522 was scheduled to turn in signatures at 1 p.m. PST that same day.

Ballotpedia contacted the Washington Secretary of State's office on January 3 and learned that supporters of Initiative 517 turned in petition signatures at their planned scheduled time. Reports out of the state said that Initiative 517's sponsors turned in about 345,000 signatures.

Ballotpedia again contacted the secretary's office later that day, where it was confirmed that the supporters of Initiative 522 had submitted signatures. In an e-mail, Kay Ramsay of the Washington Secretary of State's Elections office stated that supporters of Initiative 522 had submitted about 19,000 signatures on January 3, and planned to turn in more before the 5:00 p.m. deadline on January 4. According to reports out of the state, the group submitted about 350,000 signatures the next day.[2]

Ramsay pointed to February 12 as the state's deadline to verify signatures for both initiatives.

2014 watch

Unlike odd-numbered years, even-numbered years see a vast amount of measures on the ballot. More measures on the ballot naturally means more proposals in legislative session and among citizens. Here, every Tuesday, you'll find all the latest updates on statewide proposals filed by legislators and regular voters alike for 2014.

Ever since the 2012 general election, marijuana legalization has dominated the headlines in states that may try to follow suit of three states that legalized some form of the drug last November.

However, one such state is seeing efforts to repeal a marijuana legalization act that was approved two years before the November 2012 election.

2014 Count
Number: Four measures
States: California and Tennessee

An Arizona Medical Marijuana Act repeal has been proposed to appear on the November 2014 general election ballot in the state of Arizona. State Representative John Kavanagh filed the proposal with the Arizona State Legislature recently, hoping to allow voters a second chance to vote on the law.[3]

In 2010, voters approved Proposition 203, which allowed residents in the state with specific medical conditions to be treated with certain amounts of marijuana for personal use. The measure allowed qualified patients and caregivers to purchase the drug from specific, closely watched clinics. Under the law, patients are protected from arrest and prosecution for using the plant for medicinal purposes.

Employers are also not allowed to discriminate in hiring employees, as well as terminate employment against registered cardholders. However, the measure did not allow workers to be on the medicine while on the job.

Proposition 203 was placed on the ballot via the state's citizen-initiative process.

Quick hits

Mexico considers legalizing marijuana in light of victories in the U.S.: According to reports, Enrique Peña Nieto, president of Mexico, opposes legalization of marijuana outright but has said that events in Washington and Colorado "could bring us to rethinking the strategy." Mexican politicians in favor of legalization approach the issue from a different angle than those in the U.S., however, as some consider it to be a matter of life an death. Mexican congressman Fernando Belaunzaran says that over 60,000 have died in the six-year war against the drug cartels and claims that legalizing the drug with deprive them of income necessary to purchase advanced weaponry. Some in Mexico have expressed outrage at state legalization efforts in the U.S. due to the fact that the U.S federal government relies a great deal on Mexican efforts to enforce its zero-tolerance drug policy.[4]

Two measures circulating petitions in Nebraska: There are currently two measures actively seeking signatures in an attempt at placement on the 2014 ballot in Nebraska. One measure, the Petition Signature Requirement Amendment is a carryover from a failed 2012 measure that would reverse a 1994 Nebraska Supreme Court decision which changed the number of signatures required to qualify a petition from a percentage of votes cast for governor in the last election to a percentage of registered voters. The other measure is the Medical Marijuana Amendment which seeks to legalize medical marijuana in the state. Since both are constitutional amendments, supporters have until July 4, 2014, to submit signatures.

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SPOTLIGHT: Jackson County petitioners against GMO’s get started early in 2013

Last year the campaign to restrict the production and sale of genetically modified organisms was more successful locally than in statewide races. While a measure to require labeling of GMO’s was narrowly defeated in California during the November election, a local measure in San Juan County, Washington successfully banned the growth and production of genetically modified organisms.

In 2013, local petitioners in Oregon, hopeful of banning genetic modification in Jackson County, have already filed a petition for a similar measure with over 6,700 signatures[5]. This measure would ban anyone from raising genetically modified plants in the county, with the exception of those doing scientific research. It would also call on the county to provide inspections and allow enforcement through citizen lawsuits.[6]

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According to Brian Comnes and Chris Hardy, both petitioners from Ashland, only 4,462 signatures are required for a valid petition and, if all goes well with validation in the county clerk's office, this measure will likely be on the ballot in May 2014. Although a special election could be called for by the County Commission to decide this issue sooner.[5][7]

The Tuesday Count Spotlight highlights notable developments from local ballot measures across the country as well as international ballot measures.


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Ballot Law Update

Arizona Supreme Court answers question on Proposition 121: Though voters rejected Proposition 121, which would have implemented a top-two primary system in the state, questions remained about why the state supreme court allowed the measure to reach the ballot. In August 2012 the Maricopa County Superior Court ordered that the measure be kept off the ballot because it violated the state's single-subject law. The supreme court overturned the ruling during an appeal but gave no comment on its decision. In a statement made Monday, January 7, 2013, the court said that the proposal's provisions were related and were therefore legal under the single-subject law.[8]

Arizona may see new ballot measures laws in 2013: State Representative Michelle Ugenti has proposed a bill that would require every ballot measure to contain a warning that it cannot be repealed by the state legislature once approved. Rep. Ugenti claims that the bill, called HB 2007, will alert voters to a 1998 constitutional amendment that prevented lawmakers from repealing or altering citizen-approved initiatives unless they are furthering the purpose of the original measure. According to reports, the current restriction on the legislature's power come from an episode were lawmakers overrode a 1996 voter-approved measure allowing medical marijuana in the state.[9]


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

See also

2013 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2013 Scorecard

References