State Ballot Measures - 2016

There will be a total of 157 measures on 35 state ballots across the country on November 8. Many will be ‘housekeeping’ items such approving additional state bonding authority or amending legislative rules and procedures, while others will have a profound effect on the citizens of the state.
Ballotpedia estimates that over 205 million Americans will be affected by the results of these ballot measures. Here is a breakdown of the notable issues that will be on state ballots this year:
  • Marijuana - 82.0 million residents live in states that could loosen rules on marijuana in November.
  • Minimum wage - 21.6 million residents live in states that could increase minimum wages in November.
  • Gun control - 50.5 million residents could be subject to additional gun control regulations.
  • Tobacco - 51.4 million residents could see tobacco taxes increase after the November election.
  • Taxes - 123.3 million residents could see changes in tax policy in their states in November, including issues like tax increases, tax revenue allocation, and tax exemptions.
Source: https://ballotpedia.org/2016_ballot_measures
OpenVote will take a look at the more important state ballot measures and encourages you to explore the ballot measures on your state ballot in greater detail by checking your voter pamphlet or looking up specific issues on Ballotpedia.
Here is a summary of key measures that will be on the ballot in several western states in November.

Washington

Initiative 732 would impose a carbon emission tax on certain fossil fuels and fossil-fuel-generated electricity. Currently, no other states have a carbon emissions tax, making Washington State the first to do so if this measure passes. A poll released in early August showed a slight lead for those opposed to the measure (37%) compared to those favoring (34%), with 30% of the voters undecided.
Initiative 1433 would increase the state minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020 from the current level of $9.47. The initiative has generated a lot of interest in the state and those in favor have raised some $3.5 million to support the measure while the opposition has raised less than $50,000. The most recent poll showed the initiative leading by a margin of 57% to 31%. Several other states are also voting on a minimum wage increase. Washington’s, if approved, would be the largest.
Initiative 1491 would authorize courts to issue extreme risk protection orders to remove an individual from access to firearms. It would expand the State’s program of keeping guns away from those who are already considered a high risk to commit gun violence by allowing individuals that families or police see as mentally unstable to be prohibited from having firearms by a court order. Those in favor have raised over $3 million to support the initiative, which is leading in the polls by a margin of 65% to 18%.

Oregon

Measure 96 would devote 1.5 percent of state lottery net proceeds toward veterans' services to help provide additional services to the 331,000 veterans in the state. The move is popular with the voters who are supporting the measure by a margin of 83% to 8%.
Measure 97 raises corporate taxes on businesses with annual sales that exceed $25 million. Proponents argue that the measure would target out of state corporations and make them pay their “fair share” of taxes. It is expected that passage would add $3 billion to the state’s revenue once fully implemented. Opponents note that it would be the biggest tax increase in Oregon history, as corporations would pass on the cost of the tax by increasing their price of goods and services. So far, opponents have raised some $9.6 million to defeat the measure while those in favor have raised $2.8 million. The most recent poll has passage of the measure ahead by a margin of 47% to 41%.

California

Proposition 61 would regulate drug prices paid by state agencies by requiring them to pay only what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for the similar drug. The measure is on track to become the most expensive ballot measure in California history in terms of money spent on it. As of early October, more than $101 million has been raised. Those for the measure have raised $14.5 million while those opposed have raised nearly $89 million. The major donors of those opposed to the measure are pharmaceutical companies. In spite of the massive fundraising by the opposition, polls show voters approving Proposition 61 by a margin of 66% to 23%.
Proposition 56 would increase the tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack with an equivalent tax increase on other tobacco products. Proponents note that California has a lower tobacco tax than 14 other states. The majority of the money raised by the tax would go to health programs. Opponents say that the measure would increase taxes by $1.4 billion and would benefit the insurance companies. This is another costly measure in terms of monies being raised either in support or opposition. Supporters have raised $22.3 million while opponents have come up with $56.3 million. The public appears in favor of the measure with the most recent poll showing it passing by a margin of 59% to 36%.
Proposition 64 is the legalization of marijuana initiative that would allow recreational use of marijuana and hemp by those 21 and older. California is one of five states that have legalization of recreational marijuana measures on the November ballot. Those in favor have outraised those opposed by a substantial amount with almost $17 million raised by those supporting the passage of the Proposition compared to slightly more than $2 million by those opposed. Polls show the legalization of recreational marijuana passing by a margin of 60% to 36%.
Proposition 63 would prohibit possession of large capacity ammunition magazines and require some persons to pass a background check to purchase ammunition. The measure looks likely to pass with polls showing that 63% of the voters favor the proposition with only 29% opposing it.
Proposition 62 calls for the repeal of the death penalty in California. There is another measure on the ballot; Proposition 66, which would keep the death penalty in place and offers procedural changes that would speed up the imposition of the sentence. Recent polls have voters in favor of Prop. 66 by a margin of 35% to 23%, with a significant undecided vote at 42%. At the same time, voters are rejecting the repeal of the death by a margin of 52% to 36%.

Nevada

Question 1 would require that an unlicensed person who wishes to sell or transfer a firearm to another person conduct the transfer through a licensed gun dealer who must run a background check. Proponents have raised $4.9 million while those opposed have raised $436,000. Polls show a majority of Nevadans for the measure by a margin of 66% to 25% opposed.
Question 2 would legalize recreational marijuana for adults and put the tax revenue from the sale of the drug toward drug education funding. If passed, the state would impose a 15% excise tax on marijuana sales. Those for the measure have raised about $750,000 while those opposed have only raised $30,000. Two of the three recent polls have the measure passing by double digits, while the other poll shows a one point margin in favor.

Arizona

Proposition 205 would legalize recreational use of marijuana for those 21 years of age or older and impose a 15% tax on sales. So far those in opposition have raised $1.9 million compared to the $3.1 million raised by those in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. A poll done in late August by The Arizona Republic showed the measure passing by a margin of 50% to 40%.
Proposition 206 – Minimum Wage and Time Off Initiative – Would raise the minimum wage to $10 in 2017 and $12 by 2020. As is the case in other states where an increase in the minimum wage is on the ballot, this one appears headed for voter approval with the most recent poll showing it passing by a margin of 61% to 31%.

Colorado

Amendment 70 would increase the minimum wage to $9.30 per hour with annual increases of $0.90 each January until it reaches $12 per hour effective January 2020 and annually adjusts after that for cost-of-living increases. As in other states where minimum wage increases are on the ballot, the voters of Colorado seem ready to approve this measure with a recent poll showing it passing by a margin of 58% to 36%.
Amendment 72 would raise the tax on cigarettes by $1.75 per pack of 20. This would increase state revenues by an estimated $315 million with the monies going to public health services. Those in favor have raised $1.8 million while those opposed have come up with $10.9 million. The only polling that’s been done was an online survey by The Denver Post which showed that 62% of the voters approved and 38% were opposed.
Proposition 106 also known as the “End of Life Options Act” would make assisted death legal if someone had received a prognosis of death within six months. If passed, Colorado would join five other states, including California, that permit terminally ill persons to obtain medication that will permit them to end their life. Those in favor of the measure have raised $4.8 million compared to $1.8 million in contributions for those opposed. A poll done in mid-September showed Colorado’s voters solidly for the “End of Life Option” by a margin of 70% to 30%.

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