The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a citizens initiative designed to protect Portland’s parks will be allowed to appear on the June ballot.
In the ongoing dispute between the city and the Friends of Congress Square Park and its Protect Portland Parks subcommittee over the validity of the petition, the state’s highest court decided the citizens initiative is within its rights despite the city’s argument that it dealt with administrative and not legislative matters. The case will now be remanded to the Superior Court and a judge will decide on whether the city will be liable for any of the Friends’ attorney fees.

An initiative which would raise the minimum wage in the area of SeaTac, Washington’s international airport has been halted, at least temporarily, by the courts. Judge Andrea Darvas ruled that 61 signatures, the latest in a great number of signatures which were eliminated in the verification process, were also invalid due to duplicate signatures.

Advocates of the initiative originally had 2,506 signatures that were turned in in June. Normally, this would be more than sufficient to qualify the initiative. However more than 800 signatures were invalidated, and thus left a narrow margin of 43 signatures which were then cut down again by Judge Darvas’ decision, leaving the campaign 18 short.

Another two local ballot measures, in Spokane, have been thrown off the November ballot, reports the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday made it easier for state lawmakers to increase taxes.

The court, in a 6-3 ruling, decided a state law requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to increase taxes is unconstitutional.

“Our holding today is not a judgment on the wisdom of requiring a supermajority for the passage of tax legislation,” the court said in its majority opinion.

Today the California Supreme Court upheld ballot proposition eight banning gay marriage in the state. The 6-1 decision ruled that voters legally outlawed same-sex marriages via a voter passed ballot initiative in November. The court also ruled that the estimated 18,000 gay couples that were previously married in California before the law took effect would continue being married.

Prop. 8, as it is commonly referred to, has been in the media spotlight for several months as Californians struggled to decide what is the legal definition of marriage.

With time running out, a group backed by the Culinary Workers Union is again asking the Nevada Supreme Court to order two anti-redevelopment measures to be placed on the June 2 municipal ballot.

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Tim Eyman, an activist in Washington State, just sent out an email announcing his legal victory of Initiative 960, requiring the state legislature to have a 2/3 majority vote in order to increase taxes. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected challenges to I-960.

Many times initiatives which have passed at the ballot box are challenged in the court system. In this case, Mr. Eyman won the challenge and the taxpayer protection initiative will stand. He writes:

Under intense pressure from both sides in the debate over same-sex marriage, the California Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday on the ballot initiative passed by voters last November that outlawed such unions.

For opponents of the measure, Proposition 8, the three-hour hearing is a critical legal test. But it is also, they say, a prime moment to rally their forces and demonstrate resilience after a stinging election loss that many among them believe could have been avoided.