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Truly Right View » Government Corruption, Government Waste, Gun Laws, Main Stream Media Bias, Political Campaigning, Politics, Problems of Big Government, Restoring America » Pot, Guns, and the Minimum Wage: Some Ballot Questions That Matter

Pot, Guns, and the Minimum Wage: Some Ballot Questions That Matter

In addition to casting their votes for president Tuesday, millions of Americans had the chance to weigh in on ballot questions in their respective states.

The measures range from legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, on the ballot in nine states, to increases in the minimum wage—on the ballot in four.

Voters in Colorado faced controversial proposals to create a single-payer system of health care and legalize physician-assisted suicide, while Massachusetts voters considered a measure to lift a cap on the number of charter schools in the state.

Here are some highlights of votes across the country on such ballot initiatives, in unofficial and sometimes incomplete results:

Minimum Wage

Several states voted on raising their statewide minimum wage. Voters in Arizona, Colorado, and Maine all considered measures to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020. The federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Voters chose to raise the minimum wage from $8.06 per hour in Arizona, $8.31 in Colorado, and $7.50 in Maine.

A measure in Washington state proposed to raise the minimum wage to $13.50 an hour by 2020. Voters chose to pass it, boosting the wage from the current $9.47.

South Dakota rejected a measure that would have lowered the minimum wage for workers under age 18 from $8.50 to $7.50.

Marijuana Measures

Voters in three states—Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota—passed ballot measures legalizing medical marijuana.

A ballot initiative in Montana expanding use of medical marijuana was on track for approval, with 37 percent of precincts reporting.

With the results, medical marijuana could become legal in 30 states.

Voters in Florida previously rejected legalized medical marijuana in 2014.

In three other states—California, Massachusetts, and Nevada—voters approved proposals legalizing recreational use of marijuana for those over 21.

A similar proposal in Maine was too close to call.

Voters in Arizona appeared to have rejected an initiative legalizing recreational marijuana, with 71 percent of precincts reporting at the time of publication.

Supporters argued that legalizing the drug would put more money in state coffers; opponents said marijuana use is a danger to public health.

If all four states decide yes, recreational marijuana use could now be legal in eight states; the others are Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia.

Health Care

In Colorado, voters rejected Amendment 69, a ballot initiative implementing a single-payer health care model called ColoradoCare.

Under ColoradoCare, which would have cost $25 billion and been funded by a 10 percent tax on payroll, Colorado residents would get “comprehensive” health insurance coverage.

Supporters argued the plan would have lessened the amount of money Colorado residents spent on health care and expanded access to coverage.

But opponents worried that the tax hike would cause residents and providers to flee the state in search of more options and better care.

Death Penalty

In California, with 31 percent of precincts counted, voters were on track to reject a death penalty measure that would make life without parole the strongest criminal sentence.

A separate ballot measure in the Golden State eliminating obstacles to the death penalty was on its way to passage, with 29 percent of precincts reporting.

Nebraska voters reinstated the death penalty.

Oklahoma voters voted to amend the state constitution to keep the death penalty.

In 31 states, the death penalty is legal.

Gun Restrictions

Voters in four states chose between tightening or loosening restrictions on gun regulations.

In California, voters appeared to pass a measure to require background checks on the sale of ammunition and Department of Justice authorization to sell ammunition.

Maine votes were on track to reject a measure that extends background checks for gun sales, with 80 percent of precincts reporting.

Nevada voters were split on an initiative requiring private buyers and sellers to conduct background checks, with 51 percent of precincts reporting.

In Washington state, voters passed an initiative allowing courts to temporarily seize guns from individuals and ban residents from owning guns.

Right to Work

Voters in Alabama passed a ballot measure adding a right-to-work guarantee to its state constitution.

A similar measure was on the ballot in Virginia, but voters decided not to amend the state constitution with a right-to-work provision.

Lawmakers in both state legislatures previously had passed right-to-work legislation.

In right-to-work states, employers are prohibited from requiring workers to join a union.

With the addition of Alabama, 27 states have right-to-work laws on the books. In seven, including Alabama, the protection is part of the state constitution.

In South Dakota, voters rejected Measure 23, a union-backed initiative eliminating the state’s right-to-work law.

South Dakota has been a right-to-work state since 1947. Measure 23 supporters spent at least $620,000 since May pushing the proposal.

Charter Schools

In Massachusetts, voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have given a green light to adding 12 new or expanded charter schools every year.

Charter schools are public schools that operate with more autonomy than traditional public schools, maintaining control over budgeting, hiring, firing, and curriculum decisions.

Supporters argued that lifting the cap on charter schools is a form of social justice, providing urban and low-income families with a choice regarding where they send their children to school. Opponents argued that charter schools take away much-needed money from public schools, and undermine the concept of public education.

Assisted Suicide

In Colorado, voters took on the controversial issue of physician-assisted suicide, passing Proposition 106.

The results will make Colorado the sixth state to legalize assisted suicide. The measure allows terminally ill patients with six months or less to live to request and self-administer life-ending drugs.

Other states where assisted suicide is legal include California, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. On Nov. 1, the District of Columbia took a major step toward legalizing the practice when D.C. Council members approved the Death With Dignity Act.

State Supreme Court Justices

This year’s judicial elections in Kansas—known as retention elections—were especially contentious and political.

Conservatives accused justices of overstepping their authority and expressed outrage over rulings that overturned death penalty verdicts and struck down abortion restrictions.

Outside groups campaigned and spent heavily.

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss and four other justices faced a retention vote: Marla J. Luckert, Carol A. Beier, Dan Biles, and Caleb Stegall.

With close to half of all precincts reporting, voters were on track to retain the justices.

Learn more about the initiative here.

Bilingual Education

Should public schools be allowed to teach in Spanish?

That was the question posed to voters in California, who overwhelmingly approved the ballot initiative.

Seventy-three percent of voters said “yes” to the measure with 30 percent of precincts reporting, paving the way for the most significant change to the state’s bilingual education policy since 1998.

With voters’ approval, the number of dual-language immersion programs at California’s public schools could sharply increase, potentially affecting ethnic and cultural divides for decades to come.

Learn more about the initiative, Proposition 58, here.

Josh Siegel contributed to this report.

The post Pot, Guns, and the Minimum Wage: Some Ballot Questions That Matter appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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