Ballot Propositions and Amendments

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Danoff

Who is John Galt?
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In the US, states occasionally take their lawmaking directly to the people, with straight democracy, bypassing representative government entirely. These are often known as ballot propositions, and some of them can be sneaky and scary. A few years back Colorado floated one called ColoradoCare (I made a thread about it), which threatened a 10% income tax to create universal health care, and I considered packing my bags and leaving the state. It failed spectacularly. Colorado legalized marijuana with one, California failed to legalize marijuana with one, and then subsequently succeeded. California also failed to legalize gay marriage with one.

Often ballot propositions are just tax increases, but sometimes they involve legalizing activities - and often they can be very confusing and state-law specific. I have no idea whether folks in countries outside the US have these or something analogous, but if you do, feel free to post about them here.

One that I'm currently angry with, which will be voted on next month in Colorado, is the legalization of sports gambling. Colorado wants to legalize sports gambling state-wide, but they want to create a special new tax to go along with it. I feel like this proposition was designed to pass, aiming at two distinct groups of voters. On the one hand, it's trying to get free market types who want to legalize gambling, and on the other hand it's trying to get sin-tax folks who want to offset their own taxes by soaking people who are behaving "badly". I hate propositions like this.

Anyway, this is your thread for discussing state propositions. What's on the docket for November? It looks like we get an abortion proposition here in CO in 2020.
 
8,806
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Marin County
Ballot measures were a new thing for me...I don't remember them in Texas, Maine, or Michigan. But goodness they love them here. I think there was something like 25 ballot measures in SF in the last election! California is the only state I've been full-adult in, so I may just not remember.

Lets see what's in store so far for 2020...

-Some criminal justice stuff related to DNA evidence
-Commercial & industrial property be taxed based upon market value (goodbye parking facilities if this happens - that being said...more housing?)
-Replace cash bail with risk assessment
-$15B bond issuance for college facilities.

I'd say only #2 is of interest to me. It's been talked about for a while. I see a lot of unused property in San Francisco, somehow, so I understand the concern. I readily admit I do not fully understand all the implications.

Edit: Reading more, there's a lot more that have been submitted to the AG but don't yet have the required signatures to qualify for the ballot. These are obviously more interesting:

-Unicameral nonpartisan legislature (I assume state level)
-Ranked choice voting
-Magic Mushroom decriminalization
-Lower voting age to 17

There's quite a bit more, but they are pretty dry.
 
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MatskiMonk

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@Danoff

Are these propositions signed into law automatically if they get the required number of votes, and what type of majority does they need?
 
8,806
United States
Marin County
@Danoff

Are these propositions signed into law automatically if they get the required number of votes, and what type of majority does they need?

As far as I understand it, in California once a measure is approved by voters it is binding. Not only that, but it cannot be altered by the legislature afterwards, only by another ballot initiative or by the Supreme Court. Good article here.

edit: Proposition 13 is probably the most infamous in the state. Wide ranging implications including how golf courses only pay a tiny fraction of what they normally would in property taxes. For example, the LA country club pays $200,000 a year in property taxes, when they "should" be paying $90,000,000, based on a property value of $6B-9B (13 million square feet @ ~$500/sf sounds reasonable for LA). Malcolm Gladwell did a good piece on this.
 
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Danoff

Who is John Galt?
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Mile High City
@Danoff

Are these propositions signed into law automatically if they get the required number of votes, and what type of majority does they need?

Yes, largely they come in the form of state constitutional amendments, but there are many forms. States require differing numbers of votes to pass a ballot measure or proposition, and of course it depends on exactly what is being voted on. In Colorado, for example, we could amend our state constitution with a simple majority until 2016 when a ballot proposition changed it to 55%. Ironically, the change to 55% required a simple majority. Interestingly, that measure did pass by 55% (just barely), even though it didn't need to.