Politics

Ballot measures that passed, and the ones that didn't

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(Image by Flickr user futureatlas.com (cc: by))

This story was originally covered by PRI's Here and Now. For more, listen to the audio above.

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On Here and Now, Jennie Drage Bowser of the National Conference of State Legislators spoke to Robin Young about the ballot measures that passed, and the ones that didn't, in the recent midterm elections.

Californians rejected plans to legalize marijuana and also killed a measure that would have suspended the state's clean air laws. Massachusetts voters supported a measure eliminating a tax on alcohol, but rejected a measure cutting the sales tax. Voters in Oklahoma approved an amendment that prohibits courts from relying on Sharia or international law in deciding cases.

While the marijuana measure created a lot of buzz, there were many others just as intriguiging. The National Conference of State Legislators put together the below list of some of the measures that made it through and the ones that didn't. Enjoy.

Global warming: California voters rejected Proposition 23. Sponsored largely by oil companies, it sought to suspend the state's clean air laws until the state's unemployment rate -- currently at more than 12 percent -- drops to 5.5 percent and stays there for a full year.

Health care choice: Voters in Colorado rejected Amendment 63, while Arizona and Oklahoma voters approved attempts to block implementation of federal health care reform in their states.

Abortion: Colorado voters have again rejected a "personhood" amendment. It would have banned all forms of abortion in the state. Voters gave a very similar measure just 26.7 percent of the vote in 2008; this year's version got 29.6 percent.

Affirmative action: Arizona voters have approved an anti-affirmative action measure similar to those passed in California (1996), Michigan (2006), Nebraska (2008) and Washington (1998). Colorado was the first state to reject such a measure, back in 2008.

State government: Arizona voters rejected a move to rename the office of secretary of state as the office of the lieutenant governor. Nebraska voters said no to the idea of abolishing the office of treasurer. Oklahoma voters approved a measure limiting most statewide officeholders to no more than eight years in office. The legislature already had term limits in Oklahoma.

Payday lenders: Montana voters approved a cap on the fees and interest rates payday lenders may charge.

Courts: In Oklahoma, voters have approved an amendment that prohibits courts from relying on Sharia or international law in deciding cases. They also agreed to expand the Judicial Nominating Commission from 13 to 15 members. Maryland voters said yes to a proposal specifying that Baltimore Orphans' Court judges must be members in good standing of the Maryland Bar. Nevada voters rejected two measures dealing with the judiciary: Question 1 would have moved the state from a process of electing supreme court justices and district court judges to an appointment process with retention elections. Question 2 would have provided for an intermediate appellate court, to be known as the Nevada Court of Appeals.

Military and veterans affairs: Voters in seven states considered eight measures in this category. In all cases, the measures provided an expansion of benefits for war veterans, from tax credits or exemptions in Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico and Virginia, to aid with home ownership in Alaska and Oregon. New Mexico voters also approved a college scholarship program for veterans.

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