Newswire

n just a few weeks we will again head to the election booth to make our voices heard on the candidates and issues we support or oppose. Your vote does matter, and the decision you make in the voting booth will have an impact on our state. In addition to the candidates you will choose to support in November, you also will consider a number of statewide initiatives that have the potentially to make significant changes to the way our state operates. Below are brief descriptions of each of the ballot measures that will appear on the November ballot.

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Term limits deter corruption

Tue, Oct 14 2014 — Source: The Post and Courier

Insiders say more political scandal is in the offing, according to a Thursday story by Statehouse reporter Jeremy Borden. Swapping votes for judges and the misuse of so-called Super PAC money were among the possibilities cited in Mr. Borden’s article.

Our reporter was assured by one lawmaker that if there is wrongdoing, it won’t be on the scale of Lost Trust, the vote-buying scandal in the early ’90s.

But we’d feel more relief if it were a federal prosecutor providing that assurance.

A City Council committee Monday approved allowing more time to gather signatures for a recall election and widening the window during which a special election would be held.

The recommendations green-lighted by the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee and sent to the City Council for its consideration are part of a larger effort to streamline the recall process, stemming from last year’s effort to remove then-Mayor Bob Filner from office.

“This is something we’ve been cleaning up over the last year bit-by-bit,” Councilman Mark Kersey said. The Filner recall effort revealed “inconsistencies in the city’s own rules,” he said.

By word and deed, the state’s politically dominant Democrats have demonstrated that they want to substantially alter California’s century-old initiative system that allows voters to legislate directly through the ballot box.

They say they want to improve the system. A few years ago, the Democratic Party’s executive board declared that it’s “being abused … to create laws and programs that benefit a very few people at the expense of the many.”

But the Democrats’ many bills have mostly tried to make it more difficult for their conservative political rivals to place measures on the ballot, while preserving the system for their allies, such as labor unions.

The effort to force Bernalillo County Treasurer Manny Ortiz into a recall election failed to gather enough signatures.

It was always a long shot, given that roughly 82,400 signatures were required. By contrast, it takes only about 14,000 signatures to propose legislation in Albuquerque through a petition initiative.

George Richmond, who describes himself as a good-government activist, said he collected fewer than 5,000 signatures.

He did succeed, of course, in calling attention to problems within the treasurer’s office.

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The possibility exists that two rival gun initiatives in Washington, diametrically opposed to the other, could both prevail in November and throw one heck of a monkey wrench into resolving the contentious issue of whether the state will impose background checks on all guns sales.

Initiative 594 would require background checks for all gun sales and transfers in Washington state, including at gun shows and for private sales. Under the measure, some exemptions would exist, including gifts within a family and antiques. Supporters have now raised more than $7.3 million.

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Ever since California’s Proposition 7 passed in 1911, state residents have had the ability to propose constitutional amendments and changes to state law through “ballot propositions.”

By paying a submission fee (currently $200) and collecting signatures from a set percentage of the number of people who last voted for governor — 5 percent for statutes, 8 percent for constitutional amendments — proponents can begin a process to get their proposition on the ballot for a direct public vote.

An Alameda Superior County Court judge issued two rulings regarding contested ballot language for November ballot measures Tuesday.

Two parties of plaintiffs challenged the ballot language for a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks and an initiative regarding development in Downtown Berkeley. In both cases, judge Evelio Grillo decided to amend portions of each ballot measure’s language.

In the case of the “soda tax,” Grillo replaced the phrases “high-calorie, sugary drinks” and “high-calorie, low-nutrition products” in the ballot language and city attorney’s analysis, respectively, with “sugar-sweetened beverages.”

A petition initiative to increase the minimum wage in Nebraska has met the qualifications to be voted on during the general election. Secretary of State John Gale says enough verified signatures have been submitted to add the issue to the ballot in November.

At least 80,386 signatures were required to add the petition initiative to the ballot. At least five percent of those who signed had to come from 38 of the state’s 93 counties. “In this case, 89,817 signatures were verified which was more than enough to meet the threshold,” explained Gale.

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More than 69,000 additional signatures supporting the increase were delivered to the capitol building Monday.  That’s about 7,000 signatures more than needed to make it to the November ballot.

The proposal would raise Arkansas’ minimum hourly pay from $6.25 an hour to $7.50 on January first next year.  Then it goes to $8.00 flat in 2016 and up to $8.50 in 2017.