Author

Victoria Antram

Victoria Antram is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

California Propositions 26 and 27 become the most expensive ballot measures in California since 1999 

Committees supporting and opposing California Propositions 26 and 27, which would enact in-person and mobile sports betting respectively, have raised over $256.4 million becoming the most expensive ballot measures in California history. The committees eclipsed the 2020 app-based drivers initiative, Proposition 22, which raised $224.3 million.

Proposition 26, backed by American Indian tribes, would legalize sports betting at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks in California. Proposition 27, which is supported by BetMGM LLC, FanDuel Sportsbook, and DraftKings, would legalize online and mobile sports betting. 

The latest campaign finance filings filed on Aug. 1 cover through June 30. The Yes on 26, No on 27 – Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming PAC is leading the campaigns supporting Proposition 26 and opposing Proposition 27. The PAC reported over $73 million in contributions.

No on 26 – Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies is leading the campaign against Proposition 26. The campaign, along with the now terminated No on the Gambling Power Grab PAC, raised $42.24 million. The top donors to the opposition were gambling-related companies, including the California Commerce Club, Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Knighted Ventures LLC, Park West Casinos, The Bicycle Hotel & Casino, and PT Gaming LLC.

Yes on 27 – Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support PAC was registered to support Proposition 27. The PAC raised over $100 million with BetMGM LLC, FanDuel Sportsbook, and DraftKings each contributing $16.7 million.

No on 27 – Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming PAC was also registered to oppose Proposition 27. It reported over $41.1 million in contributions. The top contributors were the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Rincon Reservation California, and the Pala Casino Resort Spa.

Based on available reports on Cal-Access, which provides information on campaign finance from 1999 to the present, the next most expensive measures behind Proposition 26, Proposition 27, and Proposition 22 were four veto referendums against gaming compacts—Propositions 94, 95, 96, and 97—that raised a combined total of $154.5 million in contributions. 

The following table illustrates the top eight most expensive ballot measures between 1999 and 2020.

Californians will decide on seven ballot propositions this November. Ballotpedia is tracking 11 committees surrounding the measures with a total of $352.1 million in contributions.

Additional reading:

California Proposition 26, Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative (2022)

California Proposition 27, Legalize Sports Betting and Revenue for Homelessness Prevention Fund Initiative (2022)



Kansans will vote on the first abortion-related measure on August 2 following SCOTUS ruling

On August 2, Kansans will decide on a constitutional amendment to state that nothing in the Kansas Constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion. It would also say that the legislature has the authority to pass laws regarding abortion. 

In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the Kansas Bill of Rights “affords protection of the right of personal autonomy, which includes the ability to control one’s own body, to assert bodily integrity, and to exercise self-determination. This right allows a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life—decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy.”

The amendment was first introduced during the 2020 legislative session, but it did not receive the necessary votes to make it on the ballot. It was re-introduced in the 2021 legislative session, where it passed each chamber with the necessary two-thirds supermajority vote. The vote was along party lines—Republicans supported and Democrats opposed the amendment.

Value Them Both is leading the campaign in support of the amendment. Following the Dobbs ruling, the campaign said, “The U.S. Supreme Court restored the people’s ability to come to individual consensus on abortion limits — but not in Kansas. As it stands today, unelected judges in Kansas are the ones who will decide the fate of abortion limits. The Value Them Both Amendment is a reasonable approach and will ensure Kansas does not remain a permanent destination for the most extreme and painful abortion procedures.”

The campaign reported over $6 million in contributions as of July 18, 2022. The campaign has been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall (R), former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R), the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, and the Kansas Catholic Conference. 

Kansans for Constitutional Freedom is leading the campaign in opposition to the amendment. The campaign reported over $7.4 million in contributions. The campaign has received endorsements from Gov. Laura Kelly (D), U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D), the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, and Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes. 

Gov. Kelly (D) said,”[A]nybody who’s been alive in Kansas in the last six months knows that we have an amendment on the primary ballot that would essentially overturn the (state) Supreme Court ruling and say that women’s reproductive rights are not protected under the constitution. If people in the state of Kansas vote no on that amendment, then the status quo will remain. And women’s reproductive rights will remain constitutional here in the state of Kansas.”

In Kansas, abortion is prohibited after 22 weeks, except in cases of life or health endangerment. Kansas also requires a licensed physician to perform an abortion, an ultrasound before, a 24-hour waiting period after state-directed counseling, and parental consent for minors seeking an abortion.

This will be the first vote of at least five abortion-related ballot measures appearing on statewide ballots in 2022. Like Kansas, voters in Kentucky will decide on a constitutional amendment saying that nothing in the state constitution provides a right to abortion.

In California and Vermont, voters will decide on constitutional amendments to provide explicit rights related to abortion. In Vermont, the Legislature placed an amendment on the ballot to provide that individuals have a state constitutional right to personal reproductive autonomy. Currently, the right to an abortion is provided by state statute in Vermont. California voters will see an amendment on their ballots in November that passed the state legislature after the Dobbs ruling. It would provide that the state cannot “deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions,” including decisions to have an abortion or to choose or refuse contraceptives. Voters in Michigan could also vote on an initiative providing a state constitutional right to abortion.

Montana voters will decide on a legislatively referred law to require medical care for infants born alive after an induced labor, cesarean section, attempted abortion, or another method. It would also classify them as legal persons under state law.

Since 1970, there have been 47 abortion-related ballot measures, and six of these were ballot measures designed to provide that state constitutions cannot be interpreted to establish a state constitutional right to abortion. Voters approved four (66.7%) and rejected two (33.3%) of these six ballot measures. Amendments were rejected in Massachusetts (1986) and Florida (2012). Amendments were approved in Alabama (2018), Louisiana (2020), Tennessee (2014), and West Virginia (2018).

In Kansas, most polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time, as Kansas mandates in its state laws that the polls must be open a minimum of 12 hours. Counties may open the polls earlier and close them later.

Additional reading:

Kansas 2022 ballot measures



Idaho voters will decide on an initiative to increase the state’s income and corporate tax rates for education funding in November

On July 22, the Idaho secretary of state announced that an initiative that would increase income tax and corporate tax rates to provide additional education funding had submitted the required number of signatures for the November ballot. 

Reclaim Idaho, the campaign behind the initiative, filed 95,269 signatures on May 2. In Idaho, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is 64,945, which is equal to 6% of the registered voters at the time of the state’s last general election. Idaho also has a distribution requirement that requires signatures from 6% of registered voters in 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts. The secretary of state reported that Reclaim Idaho’s petition met the requirements in at least 19 legislative districts.

The initiative would amend state statute to increase the tax on income above $250,000 for individuals, trusts, and estates and above $500,000 for couples filing jointly to $16,097 plus 10.925%. The tax bracket would not be adjusted for inflation until 2025. The initiative would also increase the corporate income tax from 6% to 8%. The new tax brackets and tax rates would take effect on January 1, 2023.

The initiative would also establish the Quality Education Fund. Revenues from the increased taxes would be deposited into the fund. The initiative states that the funds should be appropriated by the state board of education. It would prohibit funds from being appropriated to pay the salaries of superintendents, principals, or other administrators. The initiative requires that the funds be distributed to public school districts and charter schools according to their share of the state’s average daily attendance during the previous school year.

Reclaim Idaho said, “Idaho voters will now have a chance to boost K-12 funding by $323 million a year in order to strengthen programs & secure better pay for teachers & support staff–all without a penny of new taxes for anyone making under $250,000 a year or any married couple making under $500,000 a year. Vote Yes on Prop 1!”

Reclaim Idaho previously sponsored an approved 2018 ballot initiative, Proposition 2, which expanded Medicaid eligibility.

The initiative is opposed by State Sen. Steven Thayn (R), who said the initiative is “based on a false assumption that money will improve education.”

Idaho voters will also be deciding on a constitutional amendment put on the ballot by the state legislature that would allow the president pro tempore of the state Senate and the speaker of the state House to convene a special session of the state legislature upon receiving a joint written request from 60% of the members of each chamber. Idaho is one of 14 states where only the governor can order a special session.

In Idaho, a total of 65 ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Forty-eight (73.84%) ballot measures were approved, and 17 (26.15%) ballot measures were defeated.

Additional reading:

Idaho 2022 ballot measures



California ballot initiative to repeal PAGA qualifies for 2024 ballot

On July 22, the secretary of state reported that a ballot initiative to repeal the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) had qualified for the 2024 ballot after missing the signature verification deadline for the 2022 ballot.

In California, the number of signatures required for an initiated state statute is equal to 5% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. Signatures need to be verified at least 131 days before the election. The deadline for the November ballot was June 30.

The campaign announced on May 12 that it would target the 2024 ballot after missing the April 30 signature submission deadline. On June 9, the campaign filed signatures. The final random count of signatures concluded that 700,008 signatures of the 962,224 submitted were valid. 

The initiative proposes repealing PAGA, which allows employees to sue employers and collect a share of monetary penalties for state labor law violations, and replacing it with a new law that would:

  • require the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) to be a party to all labor complaints;
  • double statutory and civil penalties for willful violators;
  • require that 100% of monetary penalties be awarded to harmed employees; and
  • provide resources to employers to ensure labor compliance.

According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, approximately 5,000 PAGA notices are filed annually. Any penalties won under PAGA must be split between the employees (25%) and the state of California (75%). 

During the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2021-2022 term, the court partially struck down PAGA in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana by prohibiting workers to join together to sue their employer because it violated an employer’s right to arbitration under federal law.

The initiative has received endorsements from the California Chamber of Commerce, Western Growers Association, California New Car Dealers Association, and the California Restaurant Association.

The California Chamber of Commerce said, “The California Fair Pay and Employer Accountability Act is an opportunity to reform labor law enforcement to prevent frivolous litigation while ensuring that workers receive the wages they are owed in a timely manner, plus any penalties.”

Two other ballot initiatives have also qualified for the 2024 ballot. The first would create a state Pandemic Early Detection and Prevention Institute, and the second would increase the state’s minimum wage to $18 by 2026. All three ballot initiatives originally targeted the 2022 ballot before qualifying for 2024.

Additional reading:

California 2024 ballot propositions



Oregon voters to decide on a ballot initiative enacting changes to firearm purchases

On July 18, the Oregon secretary of state reported that a ballot initiative proposing changes to firearm purchases and ammunition magazine limits qualified for a place on the November ballot.

Lift Every Voice Oregon, the campaign behind the initiative, filed a total of 160,498 signatures, of which 131,671 were valid. In Oregon, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is 6% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, which equaled 112,020 valid signatures.

The initiative (#17) would enact a law outlining a procedure to apply for a permit to purchase a firearm. Permits would be issued by local law enforcement. Applicants would need to pay a fee, submit a photo ID, be fingerprinted, complete approved safety training, pass a criminal background check, and not be prohibited from possessing firearms. Law enforcement would be able to deny a permit to an applicant believed to be a danger to oneself or others. The initiative would also criminalize the manufacture, importation, possession, use, purchase, sale, or otherwise transferring of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

Existing law requires a seller or transferor to request a background check before firearm purchase.

The campaign has received endorsements from the Oregon Progressive Party, the League of Women Voters of Oregon, and the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety. Rev. Mark Knutson, chief petitioner and pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, said, “I hope it shows how residents in a state can come together from many directions and address the public health crisis of gun violence with common sense and well-put-together legislation. I hope that people are inspired to say: We can do this.”

There are currently no committees registered to oppose the initiative. The National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action issued a statement on the initiative: “IP 17 is yet another anti-gun ballot initiative that seeks to further erode Second Amendment rights in Oregon. It imposes a permit requirement in order to exercise the Second Amendment right to acquire a firearm …The permit application process includes a one-size-fits-all training mandate, a subjective mental health review that is ripe for abuse, submission of fingerprints, and payment of a fee – up to $65 to apply, and up to $50 to renew. Issuing authorities have up to 30 days to issue permits to qualified applicants and they must be renewed every five years. Meanwhile, criminals will continue obtaining their firearms illegally.”

Oregon voters will be deciding on three other ballot measures this fall. The state Legislature voted to refer an amendment that would add “affordable health care as a fundamental right” to the Oregon Constitution and an amendment that would repeal language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as criminal punishment. The third measure is a ballot initiative that would disqualify state legislators from re-election for unexcused legislative absenteeism, such as for legislative walkouts.

Between 2010 and 2020, an average of 64 ballot initiatives were filed in Oregon each election cycle with an average of five making the ballot. In 2022, a total of 60 citizen initiatives were filed for the ballot with two ultimately qualifying.

Additional reading:

Oregon 2022 ballot measures



Nebraska medical marijuana campaign turns in signatures for two initiatives

On July 7, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana submitted about 180,000 combined signatures for two ballot initiatives, or about 90,000 signatures for each initiative, that would legalize and regulate medical marijuana. 

Both ballot initiatives are state statutes and require a number of signatures equal to 7% of the state’s registered voters as of the deadline. As of July 1, that number was 86,772 signatures. Nebraska also has a distribution requirement mandating that petitions contain signatures from 5% of the registered voters in each of two-fifths (38) of the state’s 93 counties.

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s distribution requirement in May. On June 13, 2022, a judge for the U.S. District Court for Nebraska issued an order temporarily blocking the state’s distribution requirement pending a final decision on its constitutionality. On July 6, 2022, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the lower court’s ruling allowing the secretary of state to enforce the distribution requirement.

The first initiative, titled the Nebraska Medical Cannabis Patient Protection Act, would legalize the use of up to five ounces of marijuana for medical purposes by qualified patients. Qualified patients would be defined as individuals 18 years of age or older with a written recommendation from a healthcare practitioner or an individual younger than 18 with a written recommendation from a healthcare practitioner and with written permission from a legal guardian.

The second initiative, titled the Nebraska Medical Cannabis Regulation Act, would legalize the possession, manufacture, distribution, delivery, and dispensing of marijuana for medical purposes and establish the Nebraska Medical Cannabis Commission to regulate and provide the necessary registration for the medical marijuana program.

The initiatives were filed by State Senators Anna Wishart (D-27) and Adam Morfeld (D-46). “There’s no campaign in the history of the state of Nebraska who has turned in, on a total grassroots basis, this number of signatures,” Wishart said.

Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana qualified a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana in 2020. However, the Nebraska Supreme Court removed it from the ballot in September after it concluded the initiative violated the state’s single-subject rule requiring initiatives to address one subject. The court argued that the initiative violated the single-subject rule because it provided a constitutional property right to grow and sell marijuana and authorized other policies that would regulate the use of medical marijuana that did not naturally connect to the general purpose of a constitutional right to use medical marijuana for individuals with serious medical conditions.

Counties have 40 days to verify the submitted signatures. The general election ballot will be finalized on September 16.

As of July 2022, medical marijuana was legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Of the 37 states, 18 states established medical marijuana through the ballot initiative process. In the other 19 states, it was established through legislation.

Additional reading:

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Program Initiative (2022)

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Regulation Initiative (2022)



Campaign behind an Oregon firearm initiative submits signatures

The ballot initiative signature deadline was July 8 in Oregon. Lift Every Voice Oregon, the campaign behind an initiative related to firearm regulation, filed 159,565 signatures with the secretary of state.

The initiative would enact a law outlining a procedure to apply for a permit to purchase a firearm. Permits would be issued by local law enforcement. Applicants would need to pay a fee, submit a photo ID, be fingerprinted, complete approved safety training, pass a criminal background check, and not be prohibited from possessing firearms. Law enforcement would be able to deny a permit to an applicant believed to be a danger to oneself or others. The initiative would also criminalize the manufacture, importation, possession, use, purchase, sale, or otherwise transferring of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

In Oregon, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is equal to 6% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, which equals 112,020 signatures.

The campaign filed the initiative on April 29, 2021. On November 12, 2021, the initiative was cleared for signature gathering. Rev. Mark Knutson, chief petitioner and pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, said, “I hope it shows how residents in a state can come together from many directions and address the public health crisis of gun violence with common sense and well-put-together legislation. I hope that people are inspired to say: We can do this.” The initiative has received support from the Oregon Progressive Party, League of Women Voters of Oregon, and Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety.

Kevin Starrett, executive director of the Oregon Firearms Federation, said,  “Where do you suppose all the smaller towns who rely on private gun clubs for training are going to go for the live fire portion of the class? How often will they provide it? What costs will be created? How do those increased costs and barriers affect Black folks in inner-city Portland?”

Oregon voters will decide on three other ballot measures in November, including an initiative that qualified for the ballot on July 5. The initiative would disqualify state legislators from re-election for unexcused legislative absenteeism, such as walkouts. The Oregon State Legislature voted to refer an amendment that would add “affordable health care as a fundamental right” to the Oregon Constitution and an amendment that would repeal language allowing slavery or involuntary servitude as criminal punishment.

Between 1985 and 2020,  Oregon voters decided on 275 ballot measures, approving 131 measures and rejecting 144.

Additional reading:

Oregon 2022 ballot measures



Nebraska photo voter identification initiative submitted over 170,000 signatures 

The signature deadline for Nebraska ballot initiatives was July 7. Citizens for Voter ID, the campaign behind an initiative to require voter identification, submitted over 170,000 signatures. 

In Nebraska, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated constitutional amendment for the ballot is equal to 10% of registered voters as of the deadline for filing signatures. Because of the unique signature requirement based on registered voters, Nebraska is the only state where petition sponsors cannot know the exact number of signatures required until they are submitted. Nebraska law also features a distribution requirement providing that petitions contain signatures from 5% of the registered voters in each of two-fifths (38) of Nebraska’s 93 counties. As of July 1, the number of registered voters in Nebraska was 1,239,599, which means that the estimated number of required signatures is 123,960.

The initiative would amend the Nebraska Constitution to require a valid photo ID in order to vote. The amendment would leave the regulation of photographic identification up to the Nebraska State Legislature. Currently, voters do not need to present identification in order to vote in Nebraska. A voter may be asked for identification if the voter is a first-time registrant who mailed in an application and did not provide identification at that time.

Twenty states have active photo voter ID requirements. In 2018, North Carolina voters passed an amendment to require photo voter identification, but it was enjoined by a court.

The Nebraska initiative received the endorsement of Gov. Pete Ricketts (R). “Showing ID when they go to vote, it’s one of the ways we can strengthen the integrity of our elections. It’s a great opportunity for the second house, the people of Nebraska, to be able to weigh in a way where the Legislature has not been able to get it passed,” Ricketts said.

The initiative is opposed by Civic Nebraska, Black Votes Matter, League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha, and Nebraska NAACP. Civic Nebraska said, “The only thing we are certain these measures would do is to make it harder for eligible Nebraskans—especially young, low-income, rural, black and brown, and senior Nebraskans—to freely and fairly cast a ballot.”

Between 2010 and 2020, an average of seven initiatives were filed with an average of one making the ballot during each election cycle. 

Additional reading:



A California initiative to raise the minimum wage to $18 qualifies for the 2024 ballot

On July 7, the California Secretary of State announced that an initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage from $15 to $18 by 2026 for all employers had qualified for the 2024 ballot after missing the deadline to make the ballot in 2022.

In California, initiative petition signature verification must be completed 131 days before the election. The deadline for the 2022 ballot was June 30. Yes on California Living Wage Act, the campaign behind the initiative, filed over 1 million signatures on May 12. On July 7, the final random sample count projected that at least 738,449 signatures were valid, which exceeded the 623,212 signatures required.

The ballot initiative would increase the state minimum wage over several years until it reaches $18 by 2026 for all employers. The state last increased the minimum wage in 2016 with the passage of Senate Bill 3, which required an annual increase in the minimum wage until the amount reaches $15 on January 1, 2022, for employers with 26 workers or more and January 1, 2023, for employers with 25 workers or less. Like SB 3, the ballot initiative would increase the minimum wage at different speeds depending on whether an employer has 26 or more workers or 25 or fewer workers. For employers with 26 or more workers, the minimum wage would reach $18 on January 1, 2025. For employers with 25 or fewer workers, the minimum wage would reach $18 on January 1, 2026. Also like SB 3, the minimum wage would be tied to inflation after reaching $18.

Joe Sanberg, who filed the ballot initiative, said, “The time is now, because the pandemic has heightened the people’s understanding of the realities so many Californians face. Cost of living is rising faster and faster… but wages haven’t increased commensurately.” The Working Hero Action for the Living Wage Act PAC, the committee formed to fund the initiative, received $10.88 million in contributions. Joseph Sanberg provided 99.98% of the PAC’s total contributions received.

The initiative has received opposition from the state’s chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. John Kabateck, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said, “Market, not politicians and bureaucrats, ought to be dictating the financial growth and success of working men and women in California. Let the market dictate this and let’s stop sending the message that mediocrity is a pathway to professional success in California.”

Nine states have passed laws or ballot measures increasing their statewide minimum wage rates incrementally to $15 per hour. California was the first of those states to reach $15 per hour in 2022.

Additional reading:



Campaign behind a ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage in Nebraska submits signatures

On July 7, Raise the Wage Nebraska, the campaign behind a ballot initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2026, submitted over 152,00 signatures to the secretary of state. Currently, the minimum wage is $9 per hour.

In Nebraska, the number of signatures required to qualify an initiated state statute for the ballot is equal to 7% of registered voters as of the deadline for filing signatures. Because of the unique signature requirement based on registered voters, Nebraska is also the only state where petition sponsors cannot know the exact number of signatures required until they are submitted. Nebraska law also features a distribution requirement mandating that petitions contain signatures from 5% of the registered voters in each of two-fifths (38) of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

As of July 1, 2022, Nebraska had 1,239,599 registered voters, which would make the signature requirement 86,772.

The initiative would incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage according to the following schedule:

  1. $10.50 on January 1, 2023;
  2. $12.00 on January 1, 2024;
  3. $13.50 on January 1, 2025; and
  4. $15.00 on January 1, 2026.

Every year after 2026, the minimum wage would be adjusted by the increase in the cost of living. 

In 2014, Nebraskans voted to increase the minimum wage incrementally to $9 by 2016. The measure was approved by 59.47% of voters.

The 2022 initiative has received support from State Senator Megan Hunt (D), Senator Terrell McKinney (D), the ACLU of Nebraska, Heartland Worker Center, NAACP Lincoln Branch, Nebraska State AFL-CIO, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska.

Nine states have passed laws or ballot measures increasing their statewide minimum wage rates incrementally to $15 per hour. California is the first of those states to reach $15 per hour in 2022.

Additional reading: