November Ballot Questions and Endorsements

Often overlooked in Election Day coverage, ballot questions are an example of direct democracy in practice. Although I would not want a California style “anything goes” system, sometimes the questions presented are of paramount importance. Not every state as of this writing has ballot initiatives in November. For those that do, some are of strictly local interest or tweak state government organization or operations. So, without further ado, presented alphabetically by state, I present some ballot questions of interest, some explanation where needed, and a suggestion/recommendation on how voters should vote come November in keeping with conservative principles.

Health care- would prevent the government from forcing any person to purchase health care. VOTE: YES

Union ballots- would insure secret ballots for unionization actions (anti-card check) VOTE: YES

Crime Victim Protection- would provide legal defenses for victims of crimes who injure/kill the perpetrators of those crimes (a “Zimmerman bill”) VOTE: YES

Sales tax increase: an effort to increase the state sales tax to fund transportation projects VOTE: NO

Paycheck protection- require unions to notify members when fees assessed are used for political advocacy and allow anyone to opt out (in light of recent Knox decision) VOTE: YES

End death penalty- would end capital punishment as an option in California (does it make a difference?) VOTE: Who cares?

End Three Strikes Law- would eliminate mandatory life sentences for three offenses. In theory, three strikes laws sound great. In practice, they are cumbersome, lead to prison overcrowding and create unsafe jail conditions. Additionally, by changing the definition of a misdemeanor to a felony, many people are sentenced to life unnecessarily. VOTE: YES

Increase income tax to fund education- California is one of the highest taxed states VOTE: NO

Increase income and sales taxes- Jerry Brown doubles down on tax increases in typical liberal fashion to solve California’s chronic budget problems VOTE: NO

Marijuana legalization- self-explanatory VOTE: YES, man

Health care- would ban mandates VOTE: YES

Abortion- would prohibit using public funds towards any organization that performs abortions and would not allow abortion rights beyond those authorized at the federal level

Religious freedom- would repeal the state’s ban on public dollars for religious funding. Opponents say it would lead to vouchers for parochial education. Unlike the recent religious freedom initiative voted down in North Dakota and the one being considered in Missouri, this one addresses public funding only. The others, I am afraid to say, are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They sound great, but would have serious implications in practice. However, in Florida…. VOTE: YES

Charter schools- would allow creation of charter schools in the state of Georgia VOTE: YES

Educational reform veto: would veto recently enacted educational reform initiatives regarding teacher collective bargaining. For example, the reform dictates that teacher unions cannot bargain over issues like assignments and class size. Think of a mini-Wisconsin reform. A “yes” vote would reverse these reforms. VOTE: NO

Medicaid trust fund: Would guarantee the Medicaid trust fund cannot be raided to balance the budget. VOTE: YES

Right to bear arms: Would guarantee the right to bear arms in the state and lead to concealed carry laws. VOTE: YES

Gay marriage: In 2009, voters approved a ballot initiative that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. This initiative would rescind the 2009 vote and allow gay marriage legislation.

In-state tuition: would permit state colleges and universities to charge in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants in the state. VOTE: NO

Gay marriage: Would define marriage as between a man and a woman and unlike previous initiatives, would leave open the option of civil unions. VOTE: YES

Voter ID: Would require voters to show photo ID in order to vote in elections VOTE: YES

Health care exchanges: Would essentially prohibit the Governor from establishing health care exchanges in the state without legislative approval. VOTE: YES

Parental notification- would require parental notification before a minor could receive an abortion. VOTE: YES

Proof of citizenship- would require recipients of state services to show proof of US citizenship VOTE: YES

Health Care- would essentially negate mandates VOTE: YES

Marijuana legalization- would rescind the 2004 law that legalized medical marijuana VOTE: NO, man

Term limits- would increase the limit from two consecutive terms to three terms VOTE: Sure, why not

Affirmative action- would ban the use of affirmative action the awarding of state contracts, college admissions, etc.

Balanced budget- self-explanatory and never a bad idea. Living in a state that requires a balanced state budget, I can tell the fine residents of South Dakota that these efforts are essentially accounting gimmicks. However… VOTE: YES

Sales tax increase- would increase the state sales tax from 4 to 5%. Living in New Jersey, I would die for a 4% or 5% sales tax. And beware when state governments dedicate those increases to something specific. VOTE: NO

Eminent domain- would ban the use of eminent domain in the state for projects that create jobs, revenue enhancement, etc. Consider it the anti-Kelo initiative, perhaps one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in recent memory. VOTE: YES

Marijuana legalization- would legalize marijuana and regulate it. The DEA would never allow it to be implemented, but I think a state, ANY state should at least experiment with the idea. Sorry, my sometimes libertarian streak coming through here. VOTE: Yes, man

Gay Marriage: Would express the wishes of the fine residents of Washington whether to allow gay marriage. VOTE: NO

Health care: yet another anti-mandate question. VOTE: YES