A Look at State Ballot Measures for 2010

(from Maine Townsman, May 2010)
by Pamela M. Prah, Stateline Staff Writer

Voters will consider a wide array of ballot measures this year on issues ranging from property taxes to health care to abortion. And there will be more: A number of states have yet to reach their filing deadlines. In an unusual twist this year, it’s state legislatures — not citizens — who are putting many of the most contentious measures on the ballot. Below is a sampling of the 74 measures that have already qualified for the November 2 ballot and another 21 that will be voted on before then.

 Abortion

•Alaska: Should minors be required to notify their parents before receiving an abortion? (August 24)

•Colorado: Should the state constitution be amended to define “personhood” as beginning at conception?

 Affirmative action

•Arizona: Should preferential treatment in public employment, education and contracting be banned? (This measure was put on the ballot by the Legislature.)

 Campaign finance

•Alaska: Should public funds be used in political campaigns and campaign activity by government contractors be restricted? (August 24)

•California: Should the public finance the 2014 and 2018 campaigns for secretary of state? (June 8; This measure was put on the ballot by the Legislature.)

•Florida: Should the state’s public campaign financing option for statewide candidates be repealed? (This measure was put on the ballot by the Legislature.)

 Constitutional Conventions

•Iowa, Maryland, Michigan and Montana: Should the state hold a constitutional convention? These questions are triggered automatically at regular intervals by state constitutions.

 Elections

•California: Should a “nonpartisan blanket primary” be established for legislative and congressional seats and statewide offices? (June 8; This measure was put on the ballot by the Legislature.)

•Illinois: Should a process whereby voters can recall the governor be established? (This measure was put on the ballot by the Legislature.)

•Oklahoma: Should statewide officials have term limits like state legislators do? And should voters be required to show a photo ID before receiving a ballot? (Both measures were put on the ballot by the Legislature.)

 Gambling

•Ohio: Should the location of the Columbus casino that voters approved in November 2009 be changed? (May 4; This measure was put on the ballot by the Legislature.)

•Maine: Should a casino in Oxford County be permitted?

 Health insurance

•Arizona and Oklahoma: Should mandatory participation in any health care system be prohibited? (Both measures were put on the ballot by the legislatures.)

 Hunting

•Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee: Should the right to hunt and fish be added to the state constitution? (These measures were put on the ballot by the legislatures.)

 Marijuana

•California: Should the possession of marijuana be legal and taxed?

•South Dakota: Should medical marijuana be legalized?

 Taxes and budget

•Arizona: Should the state sales tax be temporarily increased? (May 18; This measure was put on the ballot by the Legislature.)

•Colorado: Should property, income and other taxes be cut and should state government debt be prohibited without voter approval?

•Maine: Should a law passed in 2009 that lowers the income tax rate and makes up the lost revenue by changing sales taxes be repealed? (June 8)

•North Dakota: Should the state create the North Dakota Legacy Fund, with revenue coming from oil and gas taxes? (This measure was put on the ballot by the Legislature.)

•Oklahoma: Should the constitution be amended to prohibit any entity other than the Legislature from setting budget amounts? (This measure was put on the ballot by the Legislature.)

•Florida, Indiana, Louisiana and Missouri: Should property tax increases be cut or capped? (All four were put on the ballot by the legislatures.)

 Unions

•Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah: Should the right to vote a secret ballot in all state and federal elections as well as labor-representation elections be guaranteed? (The measures were put on the ballot by the legislatures.)