Voters will be flocking to the polls tomorrow, eager to choose between bloviating, helmet-haired congressional candidates. Changes in senate leadership rarely lead to big changes in the daily conduct of American life, so The Extrapolater has chosen instead to focus on the various ballot initiatives under consideration in state elections. Each descriptive capsule will be followed by our pundits’ comments:
AZ VOTER REWARD ACT (Proposition 200)
Initiative Objective: This proposed law would establish a voter reward random drawing every two years with a first prize of one million dollars or more for the purpose of increasing voter participation. Voters who cast ballots in primary and general elections would be eligible to win. The money would come from the Arizona Lottery and private donations.
“I didn’t particularly like his stance on gay marriage, but I had to vote for him – he’s my lucky candidate.”
MARIJUANA POSESSION (Amendment #44)
Initiative Objective: To amend section 18-18-406 (1) of the Colorado revised statutes making legal the possession of one ounce or less of marihuana for any person twenty-one years of age or older.
“We expect future elections to hinge on which party hands out the best snacks.”
PETITIONS (Amendment #38)
Initiative Objective: To amend the Colorado constitution concerning initiative and referendum petitions, and, in connection therewith, changing petition rights and procedures; allowing petitions to be submitted at all levels of Colorado government; limiting initiative ballot titles to 75 words; changing single subject requirements and procedures; limiting the annual number of new laws that governments may exclude from possible referendum petitions; and establishing standards for review of filed petitions.
“The senator from Boulder does tend to ramble on after a couple of joints.”
INCREASED HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION (Initiative #6)
Referendum Objective: Proposing amendment of the State Constitution to increase the maximum additional homestead exemption for low-income seniors from $25,000 to $50,000 and to schedule the amendment to take effect January 1, 2007, if adopted.
“Finally, a Florida law that is friendly to the elderly.”
TO PROTECT THE TRADITIONS OF FISHING AND HUNTING (Amendment #2)
Referendum Objective: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution so as to provide that the tradition of fishing and hunting and the taking of fish and wildlife shall be preserved for the people and shall be managed by law and regulation for the public good; to provide for submission of this amendment for ratification or rejection; and for other purposes.
“The type of person who hates hunting and fishing is the type of weenie who would insist to conjugate verbs in titles of constitutional amendments.”
REPEAL MANDATORY RETIREMENT AGE FOR JUDGES (Question #3)
Referendum Objective: Article VI, section 3, of the Hawaii Constitution presently requires appellate court justices and trial court judges to retire upon attaining the age of seventy years. The proposed constitutional amendment would repeal this requirement. If the voters approve the proposed amendment, neither currently sitting justices and judges nor those appointed after the amendment takes effect would be required to retire at age seventy.
“Because if you’re competent enough to be a Wal-Mart greeter, you’re competent enough to administer the death penalty.”
INITIATIVE INCREASING K-12 EDUCATION FUNDING FOR LOCAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Initiative Objective: To increase K-12 education funding for local public schools by adding one percent to the state sales tax or requiring the legislature to develop an alternative revenue stream.
“It’s too late to help Pedro and Napoleon… do it for the next generation!”
WETLANDS CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION FUND (Amendment #1)
Referendum Objective: Constitutional amendment to change the name from the Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Fund to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund; to provide that the eligible federal revenues received by the state generated from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activity shall be credited to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund and used only for purposes of coastal wetlands conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane protection, and infrastructure directly impacted by coastal wetland losses.
“Since most of New Orleans is now classified as a Wetlands, this is actually a cleverly disguised urban-renewal bill.”
AD VALOREM EXEMPTION FOR CONSIGNED ART (Amendment #5)
Referendum Objective: Constitutional amendment to exempt consigned art from ad valorem property tax; that is, all artworks such as sculptures, glass works, paintings, drawings, signed and numbered posters, photographs, mixed media, collages, or any other item which would be considered as the material result of a creative endeavor.
“If there’s one strata of Louisiana society that needs additional protection in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it’s art collectors.”
SALE OF WINE BY FOOD STORES (Question #1)
Initiative Objective: To allow local licensing authorities to issue licenses for food stores to sell wine.
“I’m Ted Kennedy, and I approved this Initiative.”
STEM CELL RESEARCH (Amendment #2)
Initiative Objective: To amend the Missouri Constitution to allow and set limitations on stem cell research, therapies, and cures.
“So, do we kill babies, or Michael J. Fox?”
CHANGE THE NAME OF THE STATE AUDITOR TO INSURANCE COMMISSIONER (Amendment #43)
Referendum Objective: The 2005 Legislature submitted this proposal for a vote. It would amend Montana’s Constitution to change the name of the office of state auditor to the insurance commissioner.
“Apparently Montanans didn’t realize you can just order new stationery from Staples.”
ALLOW RECALL OF JUDICIAL OFFICIALS
Initiative Objective: This measure amends the Montana Constitution to provide for recall by petition of state court justices or judges for any reason.
Status: Removed from Ballot by court order. Initiative invalidated by the State Supreme Court October 26th.
“Ooooh. Didn’t see that one coming for some reason.”
PAPILLION KENO INITIATIVE (Measure #421)
Initiative Objective: To authorize video keno machines under the existing Nebraska County and City Lottery Act.
“Because Nebraska Football only runs August through January. We need something to do for the other six months of the year.”
COMPULSIVE GAMBLERS ASSISTANCE FUND (Amendment #3)
Referendum Objective: A constitutional amendment to increase the amount of state lottery proceeds to be distributed to the Compulsive Gamblers Assistance Fund.
“This is nice! At least after Measure 421 creates new gambling addicts, they’re going to set aside a little money to help them out.”
GAMBLING AND COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS – LEARN & EARN
Initiative Objective: This amendment to the Constitution would: Permit up to 31,500 slot machines at seven horse racing tracks and at two Cleveland non-track locations; permit expanded gaming in the four Cuyahoga County locations if approved by the county’s voters; Distribute the revenues as follows: 55% to the slot and casino owners and operators, 30% to the Board of Regents for college scholarships and grants to eligible students and administration of the program, the remaining revenues to be divided among local governments, race tracks for purse money, gambling addiction services.
“It’s nice to know that I can gamble away my life savings and still send my kids to college.”
ELECTIONS – RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS (Question #2)
Referendum Objective: Approval of the amendment to the Rhode Island Constitution set forth below will provide that no person who is incarcerated in a correctional facility upon a felony conviction shall be permitted to vote until such person is discharged from the facility, at which point that person’s right to vote shall be restored.
“As soon as I get outta here, I’m gonna go see my old lady. No, wait! I’m gonna vote, and then I’m gonna go see my old lady.”
JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY INITIATIVE LAW (J.A.I.L.)
Initiative Objective: To amend the South Dakota Constitution to deny judges in South Dakota immunity from lawsuits and to establish a Special Grand Jury to determine the validity of lawsuits against judges.
“I guess the South Dakota judiciary didn’t get the memo from the Montana judiciary.”
POWERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY; LIMITATIONS
Referendum Objective: Proposed amendment to Section 14 of Article IV of the Constitution of Virginia by deleting the provision that prohibits the incorporation of churches, a provision that was ruled to be unconstitutional and therefore now is obsolete.
“We just needed to clear out some flotsam to make room for the Gay Marriage Amendment. We’re trying to keep the Constitution to one page.”
Whatever you’re voting on this election season, make sure you get off your duff and make your vote count!
All initiative descriptions found here