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Victoria Antram

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

Anchorage, Alaska local ballot measure recap

Unofficial election results indicate that voters in Anchorage, Alaska approved nine measures and defeated two measures on April 6.

Anchorage voters defeated Proposition 1, a $6.9 million bond measure for construction and renovation of local facilities, with 53% against and 46% in favor.

Proposition 2 was approved with 54% of the vote. Proposition 2 authorized the city to issue $1.15 million in bonds to fund renovations for the Anchorage Senior Activity Center, Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center, and Loussac Library.

Proposition 3 was approved with 53% of the vote. It allows the city to issue $5.3 million in bonds for transportation projects.

Proposition 4 was approved with 54% of the vote. The measure authorized an increase in the municipal tax cap, not exceeding $5.32 per $100,000 in assessed value, thereby generating an estimated $1.8 million annually. The revenue will be used to purchase for the Anchorage Police Department computer-aided dispatch, record-management, and digital-evidence management systems, in-car and body-worn cameras, and related technologies and services.

Proposition 5 was approved with 57% of the vote. It authorized $36.425 million in bonds to fund roads and storm drainage capital acquisition and renovation of related capital improvements in the Anchorage Roads and Drainage Service Area.

Proposition 6 was approved with 54% of the vote. The measure authorized the city to issue $4 million in bonds to fund parks and recreational services.

Proposition 7 was approved with 60% of the vote. The measure authorized the city to issue $1.95 million in bonds to fund acquiring a replacement fire ladder truck and making AFD facility improvements and related capital improvements in the Anchorage Fire Service Area.

Proposition 8 was defeated by a vote of 48% in favor to 52% against. The measure would have authorized the city to issue $3.9 million in bonds to fund acquiring new APD replacement fleet vehicles and related capital improvements in the Anchorage Metropolitan Police Service Area.

Proposition 9 was approved with 55% of the vote. The measure authorized the city to annex select areas in the Blue Beary Estates Subdivision to the Bear Valley Limited Road Service Area.

Proposition 10 was approved with 66% of the vote. It was designed to de-annex Alpine Terrace Subdivision Block 2, Lot 6 from the Upper O’Malley Limited Road Service Area.

Proposition 11 was approved with 57% of the vote. The measure de-annexes Creekview Estates Subdivision, Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 from the South Goldenview Rural Road Service Area.

Between 2017 and 2020, there were 29 bond issues on the ballot in Anchorage. Of those, 26 were approved.



West Virginia State Legislature refers three constitutional amendments to 2022 ballot during its 2021 session

The West Virginia State Legislature referred three constitutional amendments to the November 2022 ballot on April 9 and 10, the last days of the legislative session. 

  1. West Virginia No Court Authority over Impeachment Amendment
  2. West Virginia Incorporation of Religious Denominations and Churches Amendment
  3. West Virginia Tax Exemptions for Personal Property Used for Business Activity Amendment

To put a legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a two-thirds (66.67 percent) supermajority vote is required in both the West Virginia State Senate (23 votes) and the West Virginia House of Delegates (67 votes). November 2020 elections gave Republicans two-thirds majorities in both chambers when previously at least some support from Democrats to refer amendments to the ballot.

One amendment would say that no state court has authority over impeachment proceedings by the state legislature and that no court can review any impeachment judgments made by the state senate. The amendment was introduced as House Joint Resolution 2 on February 11, 2021, and passed largely along party lines in each chamber. The state House approved the amendment by a vote of 78-21 on March 2, 2021. In the House, 76 Republicans and two Democrats voted in favor of it, and 21 Democrats voted against it. On April 9, 2021, the state Senate approved the amendment by a vote of 23-11. All 23 Republicans voted in favor of it, and all 11 Democrats voted against it.

The amendment was proposed in response to an investigation and impeachment proceedings for multiple West Virginia Supreme Court Justices in 2018. Investigation and impeachment proceedings stemmed from the justices’ alleged misuse of over $1 million in state funds, specifically relating to courthouse office renovations; misuse of state vehicles; and illegal payments to senior judges. On October 2, 2018, the Senate censured Justice Beth Walker but did not remove her from office. In October 2018, temporary supreme court justices blocked the Senate from conducting an impeachment trial for Justices Margaret Workman, Robin Davis, and Allen Loughry. A similar amendment was proposed in 2020 but did not receive the necessary two-thirds vote in the House.

Another amendment would authorize the state legislature to pass laws to incorporate churches and religious denominations. The measure was introduced as Senate Joint Resolution 4 (SJR 4) on February 10, 2021. The state Senate approved SJR 4 with a vote of 32-0 with two absent on March 2, 2021. On April 7, 2021, the state House adopted the bill with amendments and sent it back to the state Senate. On April 10, the state Senate did not adopt the amendments and sent the bill back to the state House where it was approved in its original form in a vote of 94-4 with one absent. Four Democratic legislators voted against it.

The third amendment would authorize the state legislature to exempt personal property (machinery, equipment, and inventory) used for business activity from ad valorem property taxes. The amendment was introduced as House Joint Resolution 3 (HJR 3) on February 11, 2021. The state House approved an amended version of HJR 3 with a vote of 84-16 on March 31, 2021. Fifteen Democratic representatives and one Republican voted against it. On April 10, 2021, the state Senate approved the measure with a vote of 29-5. Four Democratic senators and one Republican voted against it.

The West Virginia State Legislature convened on February 10, 2021, and adjourned on April 10, 2021. Republicans held a 23-11 majority in the Senate and a 76-24 majority in the House, which means Republicans had the two-thirds majority required to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in both chambers. Before the November 2020 elections, Republicans held 20 seats in the Senate and 58 seats in the House, which means they needed at least three votes from Democrats in the Senate and nine votes from Democrats in the House to refer constitutional amendments to the ballot.

The party also controlled the governorship, creating a Republican state government trifecta.

From 1996 through 2020, 73.3% (11 of 15) of statewide ballot measures in West Virginia were approved, and 26.7% (4 of 15) were defeated.

So far, 21 statewide ballot measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in 12 states.

At the end of the West Virginia session, there were five constitutional amendments that had passed one chamber. Bills are carried over to the 2022 legislative session as long as the sponsor/sponsors remain in office during the next session, and the measure has not been rejected, tabled, or postponed indefinitely. The five outstanding amendments relate to education, term limits, firearms, and veterans.

The state legislature is set to convene on January 12, 2022, and adjourn on March 12, 2022.

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Maryland State Legislature referred two constitutional amendments to the ballot on the last day of its legislative session

On April 12, 2021, the Maryland State Legislature voted to refer two constitutional amendments to the 2022 ballot—the Civil Jury Trials Amendment and the Residency Requirements for State Legislators Amendment. 

The Civil Jury Trials Amendment would amend the state constitution to increase from $15,000 to $25,000 the minimum amount in controversy that guarantees a right to a jury trial in civil cases. Currently, if a plaintiff files a case where the amount in controversy is greater than $15,000, the defendant may request a trial by jury in the circuit court.

The Residency Requirements for State Legislators Amendment would require that starting in January 2024 candidates for the state legislature maintain a primary place of abode in the district they wish to represent for at least six months prior to the date of the election. Currently, the state constitution requires that a candidate has resided in the district for six months before the election. It would also change all gendered language in the amended sections of the state constitution to gender-neutral language.

To put a legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a 60% vote is required in both the Maryland State Senate and the Maryland House of Representatives.

The amendment concerning the right to jury trials in civil cases was introduced as Senate Bill 669 on Feb. 3, 2021, by Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher (D). It was approved in the state Senate in a vote of 43-4 on March 16. On April 10, the state House passed an amended version of the bill in a vote of 100-34 with seven not voting or absent. The state Senate concurred with the amendments in a vote of 46-0 with one not voting. 

The residency requirements amendment was introduced as Senate Bill 55 on Jan. 13, 2021, by Sen. Charles Sydnor III (D). It was approved in the state Senate in a vote of 47-0 on April 9. On April 12, the state House passed an amended version in a vote of 136-0 with five not voting or absent. The state Senate concurred with the amendments on the same day with a vote of 47-0.

The Maryland State Legislature convened on Jan. 13 and adjourned on April 12. During the session, the state legislature also referred a constitutional amendment that would rename the Maryland Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Maryland and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to the Appellate Court of Maryland.

From 1996 through 2020, there was an average of about three measures on the ballot in even-numbered years in Maryland. Since 1996, 33 of 36 measures or 92% were approved, and three of 36 measures or 8% were defeated.

So far, 21 statewide ballot measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in 12 states.

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Voters in Madison, Wisconsin, advised the city to set term limits and maintain the size of the Common Council

With 98.7% of precincts reporting, voters in Madison, Wis., advised the city to set term limits and maintain the size of the Common Council. Voters rejected the other two ballot questions. All four questions were non-binding advisory questions.

Question 4, which advised the council to adopt term limits of 12 consecutive years for alderpersons, was approved with 70.9% of the vote. 

Question 1 would have advised Madison to transition to a full-time Common Council beginning with the spring 2023 election; with members earning approximately $45,000 to $71,00 per year, or 50% to 80% of the Adjusted Median Income for Dane County for a single parent with two children. It was defeated in a vote of 58.2% opposed to 41.8% in favor.

Question 2 was designed to ask voters about the size of the 20-member Madison Common Council. It asked voters if the council should be reduced, increased, or remain the existing size. The vote breakdown was as follows according to unofficial election results:

• 16.5% in favor of reducing the size

• 13.4% in favor of increasing the size

• 70.2% in favor of remaining the same size

Question 3 would have advised Madison to change the term length for alderpersons starting with the spring 2023 election from the existing two-year terms to four-year terms. It was defeated in a vote of 55.5% opposed to 44.5% in favor.

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St. Louis voters approved five sewer district charter amendments, a bond issue, and an earnings tax renewal

According to unofficial election results, voters in St. Louis and St. Louis County approved five sewer district charter amendments, a bond issue, and an earnings tax renewal.

St. Louis Proposition E, which renewed the city’s 1% earnings tax, was approved with 79.4% of voters favoring the earnings tax and 20.6% voting against it.

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Proposition 1 was approved with 59.2% favoring it and 40.8% opposing it. Proposition 1 removed obsolete positions and titles; added gender, sexual orientation, familial status, ancestry or national origin, and disability to the list of protected classes; and replaced “affiliated with” with “a member of” with respect to the existing requirement that no two trustees appointed from the city or county be “affiliated with” the same political party.

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Proposition 2 was approved with 57.03% favoring it and 42.97% opposing it. Proposition 2 amended the charter to require an affirmative vote by two members of the Board of Trustees appointed from the city and two members appointed from the county to pass any ordinance, resolution, regulation, rule, or order; except that with at least five board members present and unanimous consent, an affirmative vote of any four board members shall be sufficient for passage. 

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Proposition 3 was approved with 64.2% favoring it and 35.8% opposing it. Proposition 3 amended the charter to change the governance of the Rate Commission and the process of presenting the Rate Commission Report to the Board of Trustees.

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Proposition 4 was approved with 61.5% favoring it and 38.5% opposing it. Proposition 4 amended the charter to compensate trustees $25 per day of attendance at a public meeting of the board and to compensate Civil Service Commission members $25 per day of attendance at a meeting of the commission, not exceeding $625 per fiscal year.

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Proposition 5 was approved with 59.7% favoring it and 40.3% opposing it. Proposition 5 amended the charter to allow the district to engage the same independent auditing firm for more than five consecutive years if the district lets a competitive bid for auditing services and the lead or concurrent audit partner does not perform auditing services for the district for more than five consecutive years.

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Proposition Y was approved with 81.6% favoring it and 18.4% opposing it. Proposition Y authorized the district to issue up to $500 million in bonds with bond revenue going to fund designing, constructing, improving, renovating, repairing, replacing, and equipping new and existing MSD sewer and drainage facilities and systems.

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Voters in Colorado Springs approved Issue 1 regarding ballot titles for ballot measures

According to unofficial election results, Colorado Springs voters approved Issue 1 by 65.9% to 34.1%. Issue 1 amended the Colorado City charter to allow ballot titles for tax or bonded debt increases to exceed 30 words.

Yes on 1 Colorado Springs led the campaign in support of Issue 1. In support of the change, the campaign said, “Limiting ballot language to just 30 words isn’t enough space to give voters a clear and thorough explanation of what they are voting on. Removing the 30-word restriction will allow Colorado Springs voters to have the details of how our tax dollars will be spent.”

The charter amendment was put on the ballot through a unanimous vote of the Colorado Springs City Council on Jan. 26.



Kansas City and St. Louis voters approve 1% earnings tax renewal measures

According to unofficial election results, St. Louis Proposition E, which renewed the city’s 1% earnings tax, was approved with 79.4% of voters favoring the earnings tax and 20.6% voting against it. Kansas City voters also approved Question 1 to renew the city’s 1% earnings tax with 75.9% of voters supporting it and 24.17% opposing it. 

St. Louis officials estimated the earnings tax would generate $159 million in the fiscal year 2021 (excluding the deferral of $16.2 million in earnings tax revenue from 2020). According to the ordinance that the City Council of Kansas City passed to refer the question to the ballot, the earnings tax generates 44% of the city’s budget or approximately $270 million annually. 

Both cities last renewed the earnings tax in 2016. Kansas City approved it with 77% of voters favoring its renewal, and St. Louis approved it with 72% of the vote.

A 2010 statewide ballot initiative, Proposition A, required voters in Kansas City and St. Louis to renew the tax every five years. If one of the cities does not approve the earnings tax, the tax would be incrementally phased out in that city over 10 years and could not be reinstated.

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Kentucky voters will decide an amendment in 2022 saying there is no right to abortion in the state constitution

The Kentucky State Legislature referred the No Right to Abortion in Constitution Amendment to the November 8, 2022 ballot. The amendment would add a section to the Kentucky Bill of Rights that states: “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

In Kentucky, a 60% supermajority vote in each chamber of the Kentucky State Legislature during one legislative session is required to refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot for voter consideration. The Kentucky House of Representatives introduced the amendment as House Bill 91 (HB 91) on January 5, 2021. The state House approved the amendment 76-20 on February 25, 2021, along party lines. All voting Republicans and two Democrats approved the amendment in the House. Twenty Democrats voted against the amendment. Three Democrats and one Republican were absent. On March 30, 2021, the state Senate approved the amendment in a vote of 32-6.

Rep. Joseph Fischer (R), the sponsor of the amendment, said, “HB 91 simply assures that no Kentucky court will ever be able to fashion an implicit right to abortion from the language of our state Constitution. There will be no Roe vs. Wade decision in Kentucky.”

Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said, “This constitutional amendment is a blatant effort to take away Kentuckians’ fundamental rights and prevent individuals from making the health care decisions best for them and their families.”

This is the second amendment of its kind to be certified for the 2022 ballot. Kansas voters will be deciding a similar amendment on August 2, 2022. The amendment would reverse a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision that ruled there was a right to abortion in the Kansas Bill of Rights. The amendment would add a section to the Kansas Bill of Rights to state that there is not a right to abortions and the government is not required to provide funding for abortions. The new section would also add that the state legislature has the authority to pass laws to regulate abortion. 

As of January 2021, at least 10 states, according to The Guttmacher Institute, provided a state constitutional right to abortion based on court rulings. The rulings were based on constitutional rights to privacy, equality, and liberty. Ballotpedia has identified six ballot measures in the past to amend state constitutions to declare that nothing in the state constitution provides a right to abortion. The most recent measure was approved in Louisiana in November 2020 with 61.1% of the vote. Tennessee (2014), Alabama (2018), and West Virginia (2018) also previously approved measures to declare no right to an abortion in their respective state constitutions. In Massachusetts (1986) and Florida (2012), these constitutional amendments were defeated.

The Kentucky State Legislature also referred another constitutional amendment to the ballot that would allow the state legislature to change the end date of the legislative session through a three-fifths vote in each chamber. It would also provide that a special legislative session up to 12 days may be jointly called by the House speaker and the Senate president and add that laws take effect on July 1 in the year the act was passed or 90 days after it is signed by the governor, whichever is later.

The Kentucky State Legislature adjourned on March 30. 

From 1995 to 2020, 12 measures appeared on the ballot in Kentucky, of which, 10 were approved and two were defeated.

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Nevada voters will decide whether to add an equal rights amendment to the state constitution

In November 2022, Nevada voters will decide whether to add the following language to Article 1 of the state Constitution:

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this State or any of its political subdivisions on account of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry or national origin.”

The amendment was referred to the ballot by the Nevada State Legislature. An amendment proposed by the legislature must be approved by a majority in both the state Assembly and state Senate in two consecutive legislative sessions.

The amendment was first introduced on May 30, 2019. It was approved on June 1, 2019, by the state Senate in a vote of 18-3 and approved on June 3 by the state Assembly in a vote of 33-8. During the 2021 legislative session, it was approved by the state Senate on March 23 in a vote of 18-3 and approved by the state Assembly on March 24 in a vote of 30-12.

In support of the amendment, Sen. Pat Spearman (D) said, “When you stop and you take a look at my lived experience through the lens of my life, you know exactly why I support the ERA. If you can comprehend what it means to have to fight every day of your life to be recognized as equal, if you understand that, you know why we should vote yes.”

This is the third ballot measure to be certified for the statewide ballot in 2022. The state Legislature did not vote on two indirect initiated state statutes by the March 12 deadline, which sent them to the 2022 ballot. On initiative would increase the rate of the fee on monthly gross revenue above $250,000 to 9.75%. The other would increase the state’s Local School Support Tax by 1.5 percentage points with revenue dedicated to public schools and Tourism Improvement Districts.

In May 2021, Pennsylvania voters will decide a similar amendment that would add language to the state constitution that prohibits the denial or abridgment of rights on account of an individual’s race or ethnicity. It is also a legislatively referred constitutional amendment.

Between 1996 and 2020, Nevada voters approved 60.7% (51 of 84) and rejected 39.3%(33 of 84) of the ballot measures that appeared on statewide ballots.

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New Mexico voters will decide whether to increase funding for early childhood education and public schools

On March 18, the New Mexico State Legislature voted to send a constitutional amendment to the ballot that would allocate 1.25% of the five-year average of year-end market values of the money in the Land Grant Permanent Fund (LGPF) to early childhood education and the public school permanent fund. Revenue in the LGPF comes from leases and royalties on non-renewable natural resources, such as oil and gas, and returns on invested capital. It is currently valued at over $20 billion.

Of the total increased allocation, 60% would go towards early childhood education, and 40% would go toward the public school permanent fund. The amendment defines early childhood education as “nonsectarian and nondenominational education for children until they are eligible for kindergarten.” The amendment would also provide that the allocation would not occur if the balance of the Land Grant Permanent Fund drops below $17 billion. The measure will likely appear on the ballot in November 2022 unless a special election is called for an earlier date.

In New Mexico, both chambers of the New Mexico State Legislature need to approve a constitutional amendment by a simple majority during one legislative session to refer the amendment to the ballot. This amendment was introduced as House Joint Resolution 1 (HJR 1) on January 19, 2021. On February 12, 2021, the state House passed HJR 1 in a vote of 44-23 with three absent. On March 18, 2021, the state Senate passed it in a vote of 26-16. Both votes were largely along party lines. New Mexico has a Democratic state government trifecta.

The amendment was sponsored by Democratic Representatives Antonio Maestas, Javier Martínez, Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson, Georgene Louis, and Senator Pete Campos (D). 

Sen. Leo Jaramillo (D), who voted in favor of the amendment, said, “Studies show that pre-kindergarten and other programs for kids 5 and under later pay off with higher high school graduation rates and fewer incarcerations.”

Sen. Bill Sharer (R), who opposes the amendment, said, “Each time we tap into it, we harm that compound interest,” he said of the endowment. “Each time we do that, sometime in the future we are somehow harming children.”

Similar amendments were introduced during the last six legislative sessions but did not pass both chambers of the state legislature.

Between 1995 and 2020, New Mexico voters approved 87% (89 of 102) and rejected 13% (13 of 103) of the ballot measures that appeared statewide.

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