Initiative and Referendum Watch for Election Day

(Along with eleven states deciding on amendments on the status of marriage, there will be initiative and referendum measures on other key issues across the country. Among them. . .)

Medical Marijuana

In Montana and Oregon, supporters of legalized marijuana proposed measures that would relax restrictions and make marijuana more accessible for medicinal purposes. The Montana Medical Act (I-148) would allow qualified patients to possess and cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes under their physician’s authorization. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA2) would amend the state’s existing medicinal marijuana law to allow qualified patients to legally possess up to ten marijuana plants at any one time and one pound of usable marijuana.

Medical Liability

Voters in four states–Oregon, Florida, Nevada, and Wyoming–will consider ballot initiatives to reform the broken medical liability systems in their states. In Oregon, Ballot Measure 35 would amend the constitution to establish a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical liability cases. In Florida, Ballot Measure 3 would amend the state constitution and limit constituency fees attorneys receive in medical liability cases. In Nevada, Ballot Measure 3 would amend Nevada’s existing medical liability reform law by deleting exceptions to the $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical liability cases. In Wyoming, Amendment D would amend to the Constitution to allow the state legislature to enact caps on noneconomic damages.

Same Sex Marriage

Measures amending state constitutions to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman only were on the ballot in eleven states November 2nd: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah.

Higher Taxes

California will decide on Proposition 63, a proposed 1% tax on incomes reported at more than $1 million a year. The proposed “millionaires tax” would be dedicated to mental health services. In Washington State, voters were considering a one-cent increase in the sales tax, with the additional revenue earmarked for education.

Stem Cell Research

Perhaps the most publicized of statewide initiatives anywhere, California’s Proposition 71 would have earmarked $3 billion in state revenue for embryonic stem cell research. The measure gained national attention because of the strong support of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and equally outspoken opposition from Mel Gibson.

“Louisiana Primary”

California’s Proposition 62and Washington State’s I-872 will both decide on statewide ballot measures that would changed the primary for office that is limited only to members registered with a particular party and the November election between their nominees to a Louisiana-style “jungle primary.” Under this system, candidates from all parties regardless of party would compete on the same ballot and, if no one had a majority, the top two vote-getters would then meet in a subsequent run-off to determine the winner.

Illegal Immigration

Proposition 200, the so-called Protect Arizona Now measure, would require all Arizonans to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote and show ID when voting in person. It also called for state and local government employees to check the immigration status of anyone applying for non-federally mandated public benefits and spelled out jailtime and a fine for failure to report suspected violaters of the law seeking public benefits.

Pay Raise for Legislators

Arizona’s Proposition 300 would increase the pay of state legislators from the present $12,000 to $36,000-a-year.