The Tuesday Count: Marijuana ballot certification lights up 2012 ballot

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February 28, 2012

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Edited by Al Ortiz

As of today, February 28, the Tuesday Count crawled up by two more ballot measures. We are now up to 68 proposals. A new state has also jumped into the mix as momentum is picking up for ballot question certifications.

Colorado is the new addition to the states with measures on the ballot, as persistent efforts to put marijuana legalization up for public vote came to fruition. The proposal will be on the November 6, 2012 ballot in Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure would legalize marijuana in the state, asking whether or not to legalize the use and possession of, at most, an ounce of marijuana for residents who are 21 and older.

The road was bumpy for organizers of the effort, as the initiative was filed eight different times with the Colorado Attorney General around the date of May 20, 2011, hoping for circulation approval of one of them. The proposal was filed multiple times, with some differences, in order increase the chances of passing the Title Setting Review Board, and allowing for circulation of petitions.

Supporters submitted more than 155,000 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State's office on January 4, but on February 3, the Colorado Secretary of State announced that the initiative effort had fallen short about 2,500 signatures. Sponsors then had until February 15 to submit the additional signatures required to make the ballot. Petitions with the additional signatures were then turned in around that date.

On February 27, the Colorado Secretary of State verified the signatures, placing the measure on the 2012 ballot.

A similar measure was on the 2006 ballot in the state, where it was defeated.

Since 2008, a grand total of 30 statewide ballot measures relating to the issue of marijuana have been proposed for or have been on the ballot in 15 states. The last statewide vote on marijuana to take place was on Arizona's Proposition 203, which was approved.

The second of the pair of ballot certifications comes from California, which dives into the ever-present issue of legislative redistricting. The measure is an attempt to use California's veto referendum process to nullify the California State Senate redistricting plan approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Featured campaign quotes:
Oklahoma SQ 762 - Support
Speaker of the State House Kris Steele
Letting the governor focus on parole recommendations for violent crimes is a critical component of Oklahoma’s recent progress to build a stronger, more effective criminal justice system.[1]

Oklahoma SQ 762 - Opposition
State Representative Jason Murphey
When you take the governor out of [the parole] process [for non-violent crimes] the people of Oklahoma have no one to hold accountable...[1]

Sponsors of the initiative needed to collect 504,760 signatures by November 13, 2011 to qualify the measure for the ballot. Its supporters turned in 710,924 signatures in 57 of California's 58 counties by the deadline.

On February 24 the California Secretary of State's office announced that the measure had qualified for the ballot.

In other state legislature-related ballot measure news, Nebraska and South Carolina lawmakers saw ballot proposals introduced recently about term limits for state legislators. However, one state proposal deals with expanding term limits, while two others are about shrinking them.

The latter two proposals were found in South Carolina, where one measure would ask if State Representatives' terms should be at most eight two-year terms, while the other would ask if State Senators' terms should be at most four four-year terms. According to reports, the measure was introduced by State Representative Bakari Sellers.

A legislatively-referred amendment can go on the ballot if approved by a 2/3rds vote of each house of the South Carolina State Legislature.

In Nebraska, the proposed term limit amendment would raise state legislative term limits to three consecutive terms, whereas the current limit is two. The proposal was introduced by state Senator Tom Carlson.

In order to qualify a proposed measure to the statewide ballot, 60% of the members of the Nebraska State Legislature must vote in approval.

On Thursday, February 23, the state legislature passed the amendment through it's first round of debate on a 30-12 vote.

Proposals with recent activity

Quick hits

  • Lawsuit filed against Nevada mining tax cap amendment: The Nevada Mining Association filed a lawsuit in state court in Carson City during late-February 2012, attempting to block the measure from the ballot. The association stated that the Mining Tax Cap Amendment was misleading and failed to describe the consequences to Nevada's overall tax structure if enacted by voters.[2]
  • New poll shows Ohio voters in favor of election law referendum: A poll was released by Lake Research Partners showing a slight opposition to the election law targeted by a veto referendum. It was concluded that 54% of respondents were opposed to the law, therefore favored repealing it. The margin of error of the poll was +/- 3.7 percentage points.[3]
  • Bill legalizing gay marriage in Maryland to be signed this week: After the bill's passage last week in the Maryland State Senate it was sent to Governor Martin O'Malley, who has vowed to sign it. The legislation is scheduled to be signed by the governor on Thursday, March 1. A day after the senate approved the bill, opponents began the petition process to get a veto referendum on this year's ballot.[4]


SPOTLIGHT:Ohio voters to decide on taxes, electrical aggregation and more
On March 6 residents in Ohio will have their chance to head to the polls to decide on a wide variety of local issues. Nearly all 88 counties in Ohio will have issues to be decided, from school bonds and taxes to city income taxes and electrical aggregation questions. Several school districts are asking for tax renewals or bond approvals, including the Parma & Strongville school districts, which are asking for renewals of their local property taxes and the Wyoming and Ridgemont school districts that are asking for bond money to help with renovating and adding on to school facilities. Counties are also asking for continued levies for Senior and Health programs, including in Clinton County where both a Senior and Health levy are up for renewal which would cost residents $0.65 per $1.00 of assessed value combined for an additional five years. These levies help continue county services for those who are unable to afford the services on their own, according to reports.

Also, on February 28, Michigan is having its primary election with several local issues also being decided by voters. Take a look at the measures here and stay tuned for results.

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The Texas primary was originally delayed from March 6 to April 3, but with that date now looking highly unlikely, party officials are discussing dates in what month?
Click here to find out!

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Georgia signer ID requirement: Last Wednesday, a Georgia bill (SB 377) died in committee. The bill would have required citizens to show a state-issued ID upon signing a candidate petition. Georgia does not have statewide initiative and referendum.[5]

Walker to let recall count stand: After unsuccessfully seeking a second extension to the signature review period, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) has announced that he will not challenge the recall signatures filed against him. Walker contends that the first, 20-day extension did not provide his team enough time to review the signatures. Wisconsin does not have a central voter registration database. More than 1 million signatures were submitted.[6]

However, Walker's legal team won a victory in early January that forced the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board to examine recall signatures more thoroughly.[7] In a press release, Walker's campaign expressed confidence that this ruling would guide the GAB in verifying the signatures.

A new update will be released on February 29, 2012. Click here for past Ballot Law Update reports!

See also

2012 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2012 Scorecard