Initiatives Around the Nation Worth Watching

Washington is home to arguably the most policy-changing ballot initiatives this year than any other state. Who else is voting on privatizing labor insurance and liquor, or repealing candy and bottled water taxes while also looking at an income tax?

I wanted to give readers here at the crime and justice blog an idea of some of the initiatives I’ll be watching in other states as the results come in tonight:

Here’s the others around the country I’ll be watching:

Proposition 19 (California): would legalize and tax marijuana, which would open up a wider legal civil war between states and the federal government, which still classifies weed as a Schedule I drug;

California also has two initiatives that simultaneously would a) let an independent commission redraw congressional districts when necessary and b) abolish that same commission from doing its current work (redrawing state legislative districts).

California also has a chance to repeal its requirement that both their own house and senate must pass a budget by a super-majority. Only three states do this.

Finally, in California, there’s an initiative to repeal the legislature and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s so-called cap and trade program to bring California’s carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The initiative would restrict that law unless unemployment got below 5.5 percent (it’s at 12% right now).

Massachusetts’ question 3 would have that state’s sales tax from 6.25 to 3 percent.

South Dakota referred law 12 would institute a statewide smoking ban like the one Washington pioneered in 2005.

Ballot measure 74 (Ore.) would greatly expand the ability of state’s residents to form dispensaries to sell medical marijuana to qualifying patients, and the state to regulate them.

And finally, there is Oklahoma, with a barrage of initiatives, including: making English the “unifying” language of the state, requiring voters to show their immigration papers, mandating spending a certain percentage of the state budget on education, and, especially of note:

Question 755: banning the use in the courts of Islamic Sharia law– in a state with only 15,000 Muslims.

One thought on “Initiatives Around the Nation Worth Watching

  1. I look forward to your updates on these. Makes me think that Washington is not so unique this election with many and varied initiatives. How did the people of Mass. decide that they would pay for government services if their “question 3” serverly reducing their sales tax passed?

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