Connecting state and local government leaders
A survey of direct democracy on subjects from abortion to bear-hunting-with-donuts to wage increases for workers at the bottom.
This isn't every attempt at direct democracy that passed or failed Tuesday, just everything that seemed like it might be of interest to a national audience.
Alabama: The Heart of Dixie never had much reason to fear that sharia law would rise up, but now it has passed a measure forbidding the use of foreign law in their courts (despite historic attachments to the Ten Commandments, a legal code first used in the Middle East). Voters also strengthened gun rights,reaffirmed the right to hunt and fish, and made it harder for the state to compel schools to spend big sums.
Arkansas: The Toothpick State, also known as Hillary Rodham's Purgatory, failed to legalize the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol on a statewide basis. But its voters did increase the minimum wage to $8.50. In addition, they permitted state legislators "to serve a total of 16 years in the House or Senate—thereby doubling and more than doubling the amount of time a lawmaker can stay in the Arkansas Senate and House, respectively—and establish limits on lobbying efforts by former legislators, as well as campaign donations and gifts from lobbyists."
California: The Eureka State, where the ratio of reservoir-water-to-cold-pressed-juice is approaching one-to-one, approved a $7 billion bond for the state's water system and reduced the classification of most nonviolent crimes to misdemeanors.
Colorado: The Centennial State declined to recognize the unborn as persons in the criminal code, declined to fund schools by expanding race-track gambling, and required open meetings when school boards collectively bargain with public-employee unions.
Florida: The Silver-Alert State declined to legalize medical marijuana, a drug that remains most taboo among the elderly, though 58 percent of voters favored the constitutional amendment. It required a 60-percent threshold to pass.
Georgia: The Midnight Train Terminus State prohibited increases in the maximum state income-tax rate.
Illinois: The Land of Kanye passed a minimum-wage increase, a constitutional amendment providing that no one will be denied the right to register to vote or to cast a ballot, a millionaire tax to fund schools, and a mandate to cover prescription birth control.
Maine: The Clarified Butter State opted to continue allowing hunters to bait bears with sugary treats before shooting them dead. Using dogs to hunt bears is also still allowed. (This reminds me of the way Portlanders tried to impress Lafayette.) Voters also considered bonds for cancer research and tissue repair laboratories.
Massachusetts: The Atlantic Monthly Birthplace State declined to expand a recycling law, repealed an automatic increase in the gas tax, and extended paid sick time to workers at firms that employ 11 or more people.
Missouri: The "Show Me" State declined to tie teacher pay to performance evaluations. It also tempted constitutional-law attorneys to mount a challenge by allowing "relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecutions for crimes of a sexual nature involving a victim under eighteen years of age."
Nebraska: The Cornhusker State increased its minimum wage to $9 an hour.
New Jersey: The Crossroads of the Toll Plazas State changed its bail system,allowing judges "to keep defendants in jail if they are flight risks or a threat to the community" and to "allow the pretrial release of lower-risk defendants who cannot afford bail."
New York: The Hudson River State will change its redistricting laws: "The change means the New York State Legislature will appoint a commission to redraw political districts for state and congressional seats. The Legislature will still have the ability to veto the commission's maps, though they must do so in two public votes."
North Dakota: The Rough Rider State rejected a measure that would'vedeclared that life begins at conception, another that would've created a presumption that both parents in a divorce are equally fit and entitled to have custody of their children, and a third that would've allowed non-pharmacists to own pharmacies.
Rhode Island and Providence Plantation: Little Rhody allowed casino gambling in Newport.
South Dakota: The Iodine-Products State increased its minimum wage to $8.50 and indexed it to inflation.
Tennessee: The Chattanooga Choo-Choo State amended its constitution as follows: "Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother."
Virginia: The Edgar Allen Poe State decided that when a member of the military is killed in action, the place of residence owned by their spouse will nevermore be taxed.
Washington: The Earthquake Under-Preparedness State passed a gun-control initiative that "mandates background checks on all gun sales and transfers, including at gun shows and online," and exempts "weapons transferred within families and for the purchase of antique guns."