The Tuesday Count: Guns, GMOs likely to appear on 2014 ballots

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November 26, 2013

Edited by Brittany Clingen

1 certification
50 measures for 2014



Guns (News)
GMO labeling (Quick hits)

Washington 2014 ballot measures
With one month still to go in 2013, next year's ballots are already shaping up to be rife with hot-button issues. Though similar measures have been defeated at the polls during the past two election cycles, advocates for mandatory GMO labeling are preparing to put yet another measure before voters (see the Quick hits section below). Abortion measures are certified in north Dakota and Tennessee and have the potential to land on ballots in Alaska, Michigan, Oregon and Wisconsin. And though signatures to qualify a measure for the Washington 2014 ballot are not due until January 3, 2014, supporters of two "diametrically opposed" gun initiatives have already turned in hundreds of thousands of signatures.[1] Initiative 594 would ask voters to mandate background checks on every person purchasing a gun in the state of Washington, even those who are doing so via private sales, though some exemptions apply.[2] Initiative 591 would ask voters to prevent the government from confiscating firearms without due process and implementing background checks deemed more stringent than those at the federal level.[3]

Supporters of I-594 submitted approximately 250,000 signatures in October and are reportedly close to reaching 325,000 signatures total. Meanwhile, the I-591 campaign submitted approximately 340,000 signatures to the secretary of state's office on Thursday, November 21. Both of the measures, which are both initiatives to the legislature, require at least 246,372 valid signatures in order to make the ballot. Though the secretary of state has not yet begun to validate any of the signatures, the high number that each campaign has collected makes it likely that both measures will face off on the November 4, 2014 statewide ballot. If both measures make the ballot - realistically, even if only one makes it - a multi-million dollar spending war is likely to ensue. The last time Washington saw a gun-related initiative was 1997, when voters rejected I-676, a measure that would have would have criminalized the transfer of any handgun not equipped with a trigger-lock and would have mandated the licensing of firearms.[1]

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2014 Count
Number: 50 measures
States: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming

Though not necessarily a hot-button ballot issue, in California, a gambling measure was certified for the November 4, 2014 ballot, bringing the total number of measures certified for 2014 statewide ballots to five. The most recently certified measure is a veto referendum on Indian gaming compacts; this is not the first time that Indian Gaming Compacts have been approved by the state legislature and then subjected to a veto referendum. In California, a "yes" vote upholds the contested legislation, while a no vote repeals it.[4]

Quick hits

After narrow defeats, GMO labeling fight may be heading to Oregon: After California’s Proposition 37 and Washington’s Initiative 522 were narrowly defeated, Oregonians advocating for the labeling of genetically-modified foods are attempting to put a pair of labeling initiatives on the ballot for 2014. Oregon voters previously rejected a measure to label GMOs in 2002. Attorney George Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety, which supports labeling, does not see “any reason at all to change strategy” despite the recent defeats. He said, “The only thing that is causing us to narrowly lose these initiatives is the tidal wave of money that the chemical companies are spending.”[5]

Montana Medicaid expansion may get a vote in 2014: Measure language regarding expanding Medicaid to low-income Montanans was submitted to the Secretary of State on November 21. Known as the “Healthy Montana Initiative,” the measure would expand the state-federal program to all state citizens who earn up to 138% of the poverty line. In Montana, however, a ballot measure cannot appropriate money. Assuming the measure succeeds at getting on the ballot and is passed by voters, the state legislature would still have to approve the program’s finances. Governor Steve Bullock (D) supports the initiative effort, but both chambers of the legislature are controlled by Republicans, who mostly reject the measure’s aims.[6]

Opponents file for referendum of gender-identity law in California: The Privacy for All Students organization submitted signatures to put a recently legislatively approved, but not yet in effect, law on the ballot, AB 1266 or the “gender-identity” law. The law would allow students to participate in sex-segregated activities, such as athletic teams, and share sex-segregated spaces, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, based on their preferred gender identities. The organization stated that they submitted signatures totaling 620,000 or 100,000 more than needed, but the signatures are still being certified by the state.[7] If the signatures are approved, AB 1266 will be suspended until constituents vote on the issue in November 2014. Referendum supporters suggested the following scenario, “Imagine your daughter or granddaughter having a [sic] share a shower with a male student. All the male student has to do is claim a female gender identity, and AB 1266 gives him the absolute right to shower with female students.” Opponents of the proposed referendum deemed complaints as “fear-mongering” attempts “to get parents alarmed” and an attack on school’s “most vulnerable children.”[8]

See also

2013 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2013 Scorecard

References



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