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2012 State Information: A-H | I-M | N-R | S-Z
Know Your November Ballot RESULTS! Learn about many of the state ballot initiatives and referendums that affect women's lives—and find out whether voters accepted or rejected these initiatives.
Increasing amounts of public law and policy are enacted these days through the state referenda or initiative process—so feminists must pay attention! This fall, there were measures of concern in 34 states, covering everything from abortion rights to health care to same-sex marriage to workers' rights. Here's a rundown on some of these measures and their results...
VICTORY: Florida rejected Amendment 6 -- 55% to 45%!
Prohibits the use of public funds for abortions or for insurance covering abortions except expenditures required by federal law and when a doctor certifies the woman is in danger of death if an abortion is not performed. Additionally, this state constitutional amendment stipulates that the Florida constitution cannot be interpreted to include broader rights to abortion than those contained in the U.S. Constitution. The current Florida Constitution has an explicit right-to-privacy provision that protects individuals, including minors, from governmental intrusion into their personal lives, and is stronger than the implicit U.S. constitutional guarantee to the right to privacy. The Florida right to privacy has even been used to strike down anti-abortion legislation, and the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that if Roe v. Wade were reversed, the Florida privacy right would uphold a woman's right to choose abortion. Moreover, the Florida right to privacy protects individuals against other government intrusions, such as blocking a person's right to refuse life-saving treatments or to die with dignity. Amendment 6 requires a 60 percent "yes" vote to be approved.
Legislative Referendum (L.R.) 120
Defeat: Montana approved Legislative Referendum 120 -- 70% to 29%.
Placed on the ballot by the state Legislature, if L.R. 120 is approved by a majority, a physician must notify a parent or a legal guardian at least 48 hours before performing an abortion on an unemanicipated girl 16 or younger (but she can ask a judge to waive this requirement). Parental notification laws have been shown to be harmful to minors who have an abusive parent(s), are victims of incest or don't want to disappoint their parents. The law also would apply criminal penalties for parents or individuals who coerce a girl to have an abortion, but not penalize those coercing a girl to carry a pregnancy to term.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a person can choose whether to buy health insurance and which policy to buy through a state insurance exchange, but must pay a small penalty for choosing not to buy coverage. The following would attempt to change those requirements.
Defeat: Alabama approved Amendment 6 -- 58.9% to 41%.
Prohibits compelling any person, employer or health-care provider to participate in any health-care system, thus negating the "mandate," or tax requirement, for individuals or employers who refuse to buy health insurance under the ACA.
Victory: Florida rejected Amendment 1 -- 48.5% to 51%!
Prevents penalties for not purchasing health-care coverage in compliance with the ACA.
State Bill 464
Defeat: Missouri approved State Bill 464 -- 61.8% to 38%.
Prohibits the establishment or operation of a health-insurance exchange (required by the ACA) unless created by a state legislative act, ballot initiative or veto referendum.
Health Care Amendment
Defeat: Montana approved this amendment -- 66.9% to 33%.
Allows residents to decide if they want health insurance or not, with no penalties.
Constitutional Amendment A
Defeat: Wyoming approved this amendment -- 77% to 23%.
Prevents implementation of the ACA or an insurance exchange program without state legislative approval.
Defeat: Alabama rejected this amendment -- 60.8% to 39.2%
Deletes the remaining "Jim Crow" provisions of the Alabama Constitution of 1901, including those separating schools by race and allowing a poll tax.
Defeat: California rejected Prop 34 -- 47.2% to 52.8%
Replaces the death penalty with life without parole as the maximum sentence for murder, retroactively applies the statute to persons already on Death Row, and provides $100 million for law enforcement agencies to help solve more homicide and rape cases.
Victory: California approved Prop 35 -- 81.1% to 18.9%.
Increases prison terms for human traffickers, requires convicted sex traffickers to be registered as sex offenders and pay fines up to $1.5 million for victims' services, and requires anti-human-trafficking training for law enforcement officials. Also prevents sexual-conduct evidence from being used against victims in court.
Victory: California approved Prop 36 -- 68.6% to 31.4%
Imposes a life sentence only when the "third strike" felony is "serious or violent," involves firearm possession or a certain drug or sex offense, or if a prior conviction was for rape, murder or child molestation. It authorizes resentencing felons who no longer meet "three strikes" conditions.
VICTORY: Maine approved question 1 -- 53% to 47%.
Reverses a 2009 ballot measure banning same-sex marriage. The ballot language is: "Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?"
VICTORY: Maryland approved Question 6 -- 52.3% to 47.7%.
Referendum on the Civil Marriage Protection law that allows same-sex couples to obtain civil marriage licenses beginning January 1, 2013.
Proposed Amendment 1
VICTORY! Minnesota voted AGAINST the amendment -- 51.3% to 47.6%.
A constitutional amendment to define marriage as only a union between a man and a woman.
VICTORY: Washington approved Referendum 74 -- 51.8% to 48.2%
Referendum on a newly passed state law legalizing same-sex marriage.
Victory: Maryland approved Question 4 -- 58.9% to 41.1%.
Referendum on a newly passed state "DREAM Act" law providing undocumented residents in-state tuition rates.
Legislative Referendum 121
Defeat: Montana passed LR 121 -- 79.2% to 20.8%.
Requires proof of citizenship for services such as financial aid, state licenses and disability aid.
Victory: Colorado passed Amendment 64 -- 54.8% to 45.2%
Amends the constitution to legalize marijuana use and possession of an ounce of marijuana for residents 21 or older.
Victory: Massachusetts approved Question 3 -- 63.3% to 36.7%.
Legalizes the use of medical marijuana in the state.
Initiative Referendum 124
Defeat: Montana rejected Referendum 124 -- 56.5% to 43.5%.
Repeals the voter-passed Medical Marijuana program and replaces it with an inadequate legislative proposal called Senate Bill 423.
Defeat: Oregon rejected measure 80 -- 54.5% to 45.5%.
Legalizes personal cultivation of marijuana and creates a commission to regulate commercial sale.
Victory: Washington passed 502 -- 55.4% to 44.6%.
Legalizes the regulated sale of marijuana to persons 21 and older and taxes marijuana sales.
JOBS, WAGES, ECONOMIC POLICY
State Question 759
Defeat: Oklahoma passed Question 759 -- 59% to 40%.
Bans affirmative-action programs in the state based on sex or race in public education, employment or contracts.
Referred Law 16
Repeals a law banning tenure for teachers and providing bonuses of $5,000 annually for the top 20 percent of teachers as determined by a new state evaluation system.
Victory: passed 74.8% to 25.2%.
Establishes a state policy that corporations are not people and not entitled to constitutional rights in response to Citizens United.
Victory: rejected 56.1% to 43.9%.
Prohibits unions and corporations from deducting funds from a person's paycheck to use for political purposes, thus silencing unions in state and local elections.
Defeat: passed 67% to 33%.
Requires secret ballot for union representation. Typically, unions are approved when enough workers sign cards of support; scheduling a secret ballot would allow companies to fire workers before balloting takes place.
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