Edited by Bailey Ludlam
Since breaking into the 30′s in last week’s Tuesday Count, the 2012 total inched up this week with a Missouri measure that was sent to the ballot by the state legislature. Although 2012 continues to build on its total, 2011 may soon begin to see ballot measures come its way. Texas’ legislative session ends soon, and if the state’s history with certified ballot questions stays constant, the 2011 total may see an increase at the end of the month. The state of Louisiana could also help end 2011′s drought with a recently introduced bill in state legislative session.
Meanwhile, the previously mentioned 2012 Missouri measure joins the freshly certified voter identification proposal on the ballot, where it will ask voters to guarantee the right to pray and worship on public property. The measure also reaffirms a citizen’s right to choose any or no religion. This now brings the 2012 count to 33 statewide measures.
While the Missouri Legislature is busy sending questions to the voters, state citizens are gearing up to do the same. Three citizen initiatives this week were added to thelist of Missouri proposals for 2012. Two initiatives relate to the repeal or amendment of voter-approved initiatives, while one relates to racial profiling prevention. An estimated total of 35 initiatives are currently circulating petitions for the 2012 statewide ballot.
An initiated state statute has been proposed for the 2012 general election in Colorado that would raise taxes in the state. Specifically, it would increase the state income tax to 5 percent and the sales tax to 3 percent. Currently, the income tax is 4.63 percent and the sales tax is 2.9 percent.The revenue generated from the tax increase would be used to help fund education.
The proposed ballot question in Washington may appear on the November 2011 ballot as an Initiative to the People. The measure would partially restore cuts to long-term in-home care services by extending sales taxes to nonresidents. It is supported by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
However, according to the organization they have not committed to a full campaign in favor of the measure. They are “just testing the waters,” according to reports. “Our final decision will depend on how deeply the Legislature shreds the long-term care safety net for vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities and how disproportionately they slash benefits for home care workers,” said Adam Glickman, vice president of SEIU Healthcare 775NW.
In other news, certified or not, polls for 2012 ballot measures are beginning to take shape. Check out Ballotpedia’s 2012 poll page for more information.
- Louisiana TOPS Scholarship Program Amendment (2011) – would dedicate funds within the Millennium Trust to the TOPS (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students) scholarship program. On May 10, 2011 the House Appropriations Committee approved the proposed measure with a 15-3 vote. The measure requires at least a 2/3rds approval vote in both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature to qualify for the ballot.
- Colorado Tax Increase Initiative (2012) – would increase the state income tax to 5 percent and the sales tax to 3 percent. Currently, the income tax is 4.63 percent and the sales tax is 2.9 percent. The proposal is being backed by State Senator Rollie Heath and other supporters who will try to gather enough signatures to place it on the ballot. The revenue generated from the tax increase would be used to help fund education in the state.
- Missouri Prevent Racial Profiling Initiative (2012) – would require law enforcement agencies to take steps to prevent racial profiling. Such steps include implementing a complaint process, requiring correction action for violators and providing information about traffic/pedestrian stops to the Missouri Attorney General.
An election will be held in Miami-Dade county on May 24 and the fate of six proposed charter amendments will be decided. Changes to the current charter have been sought after for a while now though opponents to the current proposals say that these six changes do not go far enough to amend the charter. Some of the issue that will be addressed in the amendments are term limits for commissioners, eliminating the current strong-mayor form of government in the county and banning county officials from lobbying till two years after their terms had ended. Many think that more extensive changes need to be made while others note that these changes would benefit residents now and more reforms can be made later down the road. No other issues are on the ballot for this election.
Past results: May 3 Ohio, Michigan
BALLOT LAW UPDATE
Court decisions concerning I&R: On April 28, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Care Committee v Arneson can proceed. The lawsuit challenges a Minnesota law against recklessly or knowingly making false statements regarding ballot measures. The defendants, charged under the law, argue that it violates their First Amendment rights. The case was initially dismissed on procedural grounds by a US District Court. However, 8th Circuit’s ruling sends the case back to the District Court to be decided on merits. The ruling also directs the court to ensure that “any regulation be narrowly tailored to meet a compelling government interest.” The full text of the ruling can be found here.
Recently proposed legislation: Oregon House Bill 2776: HB 2776 requires the state to return a list of rejected signatures to the chief petitioners. Persons whose signatures are ruled invalid are permitted, under the law, to contact the Secretary or State or county clerk to verify their signature. On certain petitions, the law exempts the personal information of public safety officers from disclosure.  Citizens in Charge rating: Protects/expands initiative rights.
Who was the main sponsor of the recently certified 2012 Missouri Public Prayer Amendment? Click here to test your ballot knowledge!