post from ThinkProgress
on 22 June 2012 04:00:05 PM. © ThinkProgress
This November, voters will face ballot questions on a variety of issues. Some initiatives are targeted at denying the rights of working families, women, LGBT people, communities of color, immigrants, and the poor, while others are targeted at implementing better public policy. Ten important issues to watch this November can be found here and here are five more issues to watch:
- Marijuana laws in Colorado, Montana, and Washington: Colorado, Montana, and Washington all have ballot questions that could lead to partial decriminalization. In Colorado and Washington, voters will choose whether to legalize and regulate sales of small quantities of marijuana to residents 21 years and older. In Montana, voters will decide whether to repeal a law that itself was aimed at repealing a voter approved initiative legalizing medical marijuana in 2004. Seventy-seven percent of Americans believe that doctors should be able to proscribe medical marijuana and 75% believe that the federal government should defer to a state?s decision to legalize marijuana for certain uses.
- Three-Strikes Law in California: California voters will choose whether or not to alter elements of the state’s “three-strikes law,” which was originally approved as a ballot measure in 1994. The modifications would reserve life sentences for a third strike only in cases where the new felony conviction is serious or violent, and allow re-sentencing for offenders already serving a life term for a non-violent felony. Proponents of the initiative include top prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and, according to a recent study, the three-strikes law as it stands is both costly and ineffective.
- Courts Composition in Florida: In Florida, voters will face a ballot question on the size and composition of Florida’s Supreme Court. The proposal would add three justices to the seven-member court and create two five justice divisions, one criminal and one civil. While the proposal is backed by business groups like the Florida Chamber of Commerce, opponents are concerned about further politicizing the courts and giving Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) more influence over the courts by allowing him to choose three new justices.
- Repealing Emergency Managers Law in Michigan: Michigan voters may get a chance to repeal the state’s emergency managers law. If placed on the ballot and passed, the repeal would undo a law that gives “emergency manager sweeping powers to override local elected officials, including the power to amend or throw out union contracts” if the governor declares that a local government is in financial distress.
- Election Laws in Ohio: Ohio voters may get a chance to repeal HB 194, a controversial law that curtailed voting rights in the state. The bill restricts early voting, eliminates the requirement that poll workers direct voters to the proper precinct, and makes it harder to vote absentee. The initiative is embroiled in a legal controversy because Republicans in Ohio’s legislature are attempting to undercut the initiative by repealing some parts of the law. Voters may also decide whether to change the redistricting process in Ohio by creating a citizen panel to draw maps.
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