The Tuesday Count: measures certified, approved and repealed
By Bailey Ludlam
Odd-numbered year elections, also known as the "off-years," rarely feature hair-raising or controversial election races, let alone ballot measures. 2011 is proving to be no different.
The Tuesday Count remains unchanged at 6 certified measures for the eighth consecutive week. Historically, odd-numbered election years feature significantly fewer measures than even-numbered years. Since 1970 odd-numbered years have had an average of 46 ballot questions. In 2009, voters cast their ballots on a grand total of 32 questions.
On the other hand, ballots for 2012 continue to be filled. A proposed constitutional amendment to disallow the use of public money to fund political campaigns in Arizona bumped 2012 count to 16 certified questions on 10 statewide ballots.
The certification marks the first for Arizona. At least seven other amendments remain pending in the state legislature for the 2012 ballot.
Numerous measures moved forward in various states; a step closer to a public vote. In Nevada a proposed legislative bill (Senate Bill 495) introduced as a response to the certified sports arena ballot measure received approval by a Senate committee this week. The proposal would prohibit a special tax district in the state as well as prohibit the creation of an area in which the sales tax is higher than other parts of the county. The arena initiative, however, would allow a 20,000-seat sports arena on the Las Vegas Strip. Specifically, it would impose a 0.9 cent sales tax in a taxing district near the arena.
On the other side of the country, Florida legislators approved a proposed reform of the state supreme court. The latest version of the legislatively-referred constitutional amendment would add three justices to the seven-member court. Additionally, two divisions - civil and criminal - would be created within the high court with five justices each. The House voted 79-38 in favor of the proposed measure. It now remains pending in the Senate.
Not all measures received approvals this week. A proposed measure in Oklahoma to prohibit foreign laws from being enforced in state courtrooms died in the Senate after the Senate Rules Committee denied a hearing on the measure. The measure proposed to prohibit foreign laws from being enforced in state courtrooms. The measure was similar to State Question 755, which was enacted by voters in the 2010 general election and remains pending a lawsuit.
- Maryland In-State Tuition Referendum (2012) - would overturn legislation that guarantees in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. The legislation in question was approved by both houses of the Maryland General Assembly during the 2011 legislative session. The bill remains pending Gov. Martin O'Malley's signature.
- Michigan Local Sales Tax Amendment (2012) - would allow municipalities to impose up to a 4 percent sales tax following voter approval in the municipality. The tax would be in addition to the state's 6 percent sales tax. According to reports, the proposed tax would not be imposed on prescription drugs or most food.
- Minnesota Voter Identification Amendment (2012) - would require that all voters in the state show photo identification before voting. According to reports, measures to enact this law have passed committees in both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature, but could be vetoed by Governor of Minnesota Mark Dayton, if he chooses to do so. If this happens, State Representative Mary Kiffmeyer stated that lawmakers are considering placing the issue before voters.
REVISIONS, REPEALS AND MORE:
- Colorado Black Bear Hunting Act, Issue 10 (1992) - the Colorado General Assembly is considering a bill that would repeal the 19-year-old law. The formal title of the repeal measure is House Bill 1294. The repeal would not overturn the part of the voter-approved measure that banned the use of dogs and bait in hunting black bears.
- Missouri Dog Breeding Regulation Initiative, Proposition B (2010) - the legislature approved a bill revising the 2010 measure but on April 18 Gov. Jay Nixon offered a compromise between proposed revisions and the voter-approved Proposition B. Although the new plan is supported by several Proposition B supporters it still requires the approval of the legislature and the governor's signature. The 2011 legislative session is scheduled to end May 13, 2011. Specifics about the newly proposed plan can be read here.
- Missouri Proposition C, Clean Energy Initiative (2008) - earlier this year, Rep. Jason Holsman introduced HB 613. The proposed legislation would repeal and replace Proposition C. In comparison to the voter-approved Proposition C, HB 613 has been described as "less ambitious." Specifically, the bill would cut the mandate for renewable energy in half.
- Montana Medical Marijuana Allowance, Measure I-148 (2004) - a proposed repeal was vetoed by Governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer on April 13, 2011 stating that the repeal was contrary to the decision voters made in 2004. House Bill 161 was proposed by the Montana Legislature during 2011 state legislative session to kill the state's medical marijuana law. HB 161 passed through both the Montana House of Representatives and the Montana State Senate but was halted by the governor.
SPOTLIGHT: Oregonians revisit income taxes on a local level
Just last year, voters across the state cast their ballots in favor of Measures 66 and 67. The measures asked voters if they supported Gov. Ted Kulongoski's 2009 decision to increase taxes in the state by $733 million through increasing the state’s corporate minimum tax, raising taxes on the state’s high-income individuals and raising income taxes on businesses.
In a month on May 17, Oregon voters will yet again cast their vote on an income tax issue. This time, the topic is localized to Eugene City. This measure seeks to implement a city wide income tax set at a rate ranging from a .49 percent to .9 percent increase. The money from this tax addition would go towards helping the Eugene and Bethel school districts raising around $16.8 million a year for the two. The tax would be in place for a period of four years and would help with budget shortfalls, maintaining school programs and staff.
Debates are scheduled for April 19 and 29. The goal of the debates, according to reports, is to inform voters about the issue and have both sides share their views on the issue.
| 2011 ballot measures|
|Tuesday Count • 2011 Scorecard|