Welcome to the Tuesday, June 8, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Colorado legislature passes bill to remove bond issue from 2021 ballot
- Reviewing the results from Texas’ municipal runoff elections on June 5
- New Jersey, Virginia holding statewide primary elections today
Colorado legislature passes bill to remove bond issue from 2021 ballot
We regularly cover the certification of new ballot measures here in the Brew. What happens less frequently is when a legislature removes a measure from the ballot that it had previously certified. Let me catch you up on the details.
The Colorado General Assembly passed a transportation funding bill on June 2, providing $5.4 billion in transportation spending over 10 years. It would also remove a transportation bond issue from the November ballot. Governor Jared Polis (D) is expected to sign the legislation, which was passed largely along party lines with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.
The bill would create new sources of dedicated funding for transportation and four new government-owned businesses that provide goods or services for a fee or surcharge. About $3.8 of the $5.4 billion in funds will come from new fees that take effect in July 2022, including fees on gasoline and diesel purchases, retail deliveries, Uber and Lyft rides, electric vehicle registrations, and car rentals.
The transportation bond measure would have issued $1.337 billion in bonds to fund statewide transportation projects with a maximum repayment cost of $1.865 billion over 20 years. The General Assembly first approved it in 2018 and put it on the 2019 ballot. Voters defeated two citizen initiatives that would have authorized transportation bonds in 2018. In 2019, the legislature delayed the measure to the 2020 ballot. In 2020, the General Assembly voted to delay the measure to 2021 due to economic concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
I asked our ballot measures director, Josh Altic, if he could recall other instances where a legislature approved and then removed a measure from the ballot. Here was his response:
Last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on July 30 that the state was removing a $3.0 billion bond measure from the 2020 ballot for projects related to the environment, natural resources, water infrastructure, and climate change mitigation. The legislature had approved the bond measure in April 2020, but the state budget director removed the measure after determining it would harm the state’s finances during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislature had authorized the state budget director to make such a determination when it approved budget legislation last year.
In 2016, the Arizona legislature initially approved a measure that would have required revenue from the sale or use of state trust land to be earmarked for managing and improving the lands. Later that year, the legislature passed a bill ordering the secretary of state to remove the measure from the ballot.
So, it’s not especially common, but it does happen.
If the Colorado bond measure is removed from the ballot, 24 statewide ballot measures will go before voters this year in six states, including 11 which were decided earlier this year in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The chart below shows the number of measures appearing on statewide ballots in odd years from 1987 to 2017.
Reviewing the results from Texas’ municipal runoff elections on June 5
Several cities in Texas held municipal runoff elections on June 5. Here’s a review of the results our team tracked over the weekend:
Mattie Parker defeated Deborah Peoples, 54% to 46%. Incumbent Betsy Price (R) did not run for re-election. Parker had endorsements from Price, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), the Dallas Morning News, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Attorney Jim Ross defeated former city council member Michael Glaspie, 54% to 46%, in the city’s first open-seat mayoral election since 2003. Incumbent Jeff Williams (R) was term-limited. Ross had endorsements from Williams and four of the city’s police unions.
Voters decided elections for six of 14 seats on the Dallas City Council. Of three races involving incumbents, one lost and two won. Three districts were open-seat contests because the incumbents were term-limited. After the elections, new members will hold four of the council’s 14 seats.
New Jersey, Virginia holding statewide primary elections today
Election day! The two states holding gubernatorial elections this year—New Jersey and Virginia—are both holding statewide primaries today—on June 8. Here’s a quick look at what voters are deciding in those states:
New Jersey is holding primaries for governor and all seats in both chambers of the state legislature—40 in the Senate and 80 in the Assembly. Incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) faces one write-in candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Four candidates are competing for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. We’re also covering local primaries for Essex County sheriff and Hudson County register. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Virginia voters are deciding Democratic primaries for three state executive offices, with five candidates running for governor, six for lieutenant governor, and two for attorney general. Both parties are holding primaries for seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. The cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Richmond, and Virginia Beach are also conducting municipal primaries. The Republican Party of Virginia selected its nominees for the three statewide executive offices at an unassembled convention on May 8. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Virginia.