Before Election Day, we took a look at 30 state ballot measures throughout the country that we thought could have a big impact. Now that the results are in, let’s see which big changes are now law, and which ones the voters put a stop to:
Same Sex Marriage
The tides are turning! In close battles, Maine , Maryland, and Washington all voted to legalize same-sex marriage, marking the first occasions that states have granted these rights via popular vote. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, voters rejected an amendment to stipulate that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Genetically Modified Food
Voters opted against having GMO foods labeled, thanks in large part to the money raised by the opposition. The food industry, led by Monsanto, spent more than five times the money raised by supporters of the “Right to Know” campaign.
Five states put amendments on their ballots to attempt to prevent the government from providing them with health care. Though Florida turned it down, the other four states voted in favor to counter Obama’s health care plan. The votes are likely to only be symbolic, however, as they clash with federal law.
Owning All the Land and Water and Air
A proposition on Arizona’s ballot asked voters to claim ownership of all of Arizona’s natural resources, like taking over the Grand Canyon and other federal parks. 2/3 of voters decided that it was as crazy as it sounded and rejected the idea.
Say goodbye to affirmative action in Oklahoma. The state will no longer be permitted to making hiring or educational decisions based upon race or gender in order to ensure diversity.
Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em. Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana, while Montana restricted medicinal pot. And though Oregon turned down legalizing recreational marijuana, Colorado and Washington became the first two states in the nation to approve such a thing. It is unclear how the federal government will respond given this decision conflicts with federal law.
Reproductive freedoms won one battle and lost another on Tuesday. Florida rejected an amendment to forbid government money from being used to fund abortions, but Montana largely approved a law wherein the parents of a minor must be informed before an abortion can be performed.
Idaho and Michigan voted against referendums that would help teachers’ unions to regain collective bargaining powers. On the other hand, South Dakota voters rejected legislation that the local teachers were largely not in favor of.
This one wasn’t even close. Louisiana voted 3:1 to grant additional rights to gun owners.
Though the vote is too close to call without all of the votes in, it appears that voters will not approve of allowing terminally ill patients to end their suffering with assisted suicide.
Casinos and Gaming
Arkansas and Oregon each said, “Heck no!” to allowing casinos to come to their states, but Maryland narrowly approved expanding casinos on its turf.
Jim Crow Laws (Yes, Really)
Alabama passed each of its 11 amendments EXCEPT for Amendment 4, which would remove references to racial segregation from its Constitution. 60% of Alabama voters thought the language, on the books since the era of Jim Crow laws, should remain intact. I don’t even know what else to say about that.
Californians were asked whether to end the death penalty, thereby turning the sentences of 700+ Californians on death row automatically to life without parole. It was a fairly close vote, but California will not be banning the death penalty.
In a vote that will bolster the DREAM Act, Maryland residents agreed that undocumented immigrants should be able to pay in-state rates to attend local colleges and universities.
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