Massachusetts seeks to legalize medicinal marijuana, while Montana wants to get its medicinal marijuana rules off the books (the issue has been a constant battle for the past decade). Although medicinal marijuana is already legal in Colorado, the current push is to expand to recreational use, as well. Washington’s initiative is also for recreational use. Meanwhile, Oregon seeks to create an official commission to grow and sell cannabis to state residents.
Florida’s proposal would forbid abortions from being paid for with public funds, while Montana’s would necessitate that minors have parental permission before obtaining an abortion.
Both Idaho and South Dakota’s politicians have recently passed legislation that disempowers teachers’ unions, similar to what we’ve seen in Wisconsin. These propositions aim to repeal the laws and regain the teachers’ collective bargaining rights. On the other hand, Michigan has pro-union legislation on the table, hoping to make collective bargaining rights for both public and private sector workers a part of Michigan’s Constitution.
Amendment 2 strengthens existing gun laws to grant gun owners additional rights and protections. Supporters hope it will maintain the 2nd Amendment, while opponents worry it could lead to overturning certain concealed carry restrictions.
With the people’s permission, Massachusetts attempts to become the fourth state (joining Oregon, Washington, and Montana) to permit assisted suicide for suffering terminally ill patients. It’s a complex issue with people on both sides of the debate arguing morality.
Casinos and Gaming
Three states are looking to boost their economies by changing their gambling laws. While Arkansas and Oregon have proposals to permit full casinos in the state, Maryland would permit the construction of one more casino, as well as the addition of table games to existing casinos.
Jim Crow Laws (Yes, Really)
111 years after their passage, Jim Crow laws and language still remain a part of Alabama’s Constitution. A similar Amendment barely lost in 2004. While proponents argue that not changing it it contributes to the state’s racist reputation, critics say that the amendment may have greater repercussions because it also effectively removes part that guarantees children the right to an education (albeit a segregated one).
California may join nearly 20 other states to outlaw the death penalty, instead changing the harshest possible sentence to life in prison without the opportunity for parole. With over 700 Californians currently on death row, their sentences would therefore be reduced to life in prison. No one has been executed in California in more than five years because of current lawsuits pertaining to the state’s lethal injection practices.
Despite the name, this referendum really takes aim at Obama’s Dream Act. Supporters of the proposal do not wish to allow undocumented immigrants to attend college at in-state tuition rates as the law currently permits, arguing that it is a waste of resources to educate someone who is later eligible for deportation. Opponents see the proposal as discriminatory.
With thanks to Ballotpedia
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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