Tagballot measure

Referendum 90 on Washington 2020 ballot asks voters to approve or reject comprehensive sexual health education in public schools

On June 24, the Washington Secretary of State’s office found that Parents for Safe Schools, proponents of Referendum 90, had submitted enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for the 2020 ballot.

Referendum 90 asks voters to approve or reject Washington Senate Bill 5395, which was designed to require comprehensive sexual health education in public schools.

A vote to approve Referendum 90 would allow SB 5395 to go into effect. A vote to reject this referendum would repeal Senate Bill 5395. The bill is on hold pending the result of the election.

Senate Bill 5395 would require public schools to provide comprehensive sexual health education to students in grades 6-12 beginning in the 2021-22 school year and for all public school students, including those in grades K-5, beginning in the 2022-23 school year. The curriculum would have to include instruction and information regarding affirmative consent (defined as “a conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity as a requirement before sexual activity”) and bystander training.

Parents for Safe Schools sponsored the referendum measure in an attempt to repeal SB 5395. In a random sample check of 7,940 signatures submitted by the group, the secretary of state’s office found that 7,186 signatures were valid, projecting a signature validity rate of 90.5%. This means that of 264,637 signatures submitted by proponents, 239,496 were deemed valid through the random sample verification. To qualify for the ballot, 129,811 valid signatures were required.

Senate Bill 5395 was sponsored by Senator Claire Wilson (D), vice-chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. SB 5395 was passed in the state House on March 4 with Democrats voting in favor and Republicans voting against. SB 5395 passed in the Senate largely along party lines on March 7, 2020, with one Democrat, Tim Sheldon, joining all Senate Republicans in voting no. Governor Jay Inslee (D) signed the bill into law on March 27, 2020.

Under SB 5395, comprehensive sexual health education means “recurring instruction in human development and reproduction that is age-appropriate and inclusive of all students.” The bill would require course materials to be verified or supported by scientific research, published in peer-reviewed journals, and recognized as accurate by organizations such as the Washington State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Comprehensive sexual health education for students in grades K-3 would need to be taught as instruction in social and emotional learning (SEL). Social and emotional learning is defined by the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction as “a process through which individuals build awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, establishing relationships, and making responsible decisions that support success in school and in life.” Sexual health education would need to be provided at least once to students in grades K-3, once to students in grades 4-5, twice to students in grades 6-8, and twice to students in grades 9-12. Sexual health education would not be required to be integrated into unrelated subjects or courses.

Schools would be required to notify parents that they are providing comprehensive sexual health education and make all course materials accessible to the parents. Parents could file a written request with the school district or the school’s principal to excuse their child from sexual health education instruction. The bill would require school officials to grant such a request.

Parents for Safe Schools said, “As parents, we have a responsibility to protect our children from inappropriate, ideology-based curriculum. This bill was passed late in the session with very little opportunity for ordinary citizens to testify and no amendments accepted. Parents and their local school boards deserve a voice in controversial curriculum decisions and many districts cannot afford an expensive, unfunded mandate.” As of June 21, Parents for Safe Schools had raised $178,846. The largest donor to the committee was The Reagan Fund, which gathers contributions for the Washington State House Republican Leadership PAC, and which gave $25,000 to Parents for Safe Schools.

Senator Claire Wilson (D), sponsor of Senate Bill 5395 and vice-chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, said, “Some people hear the words ‘sex education’ and mistake the focus of the curriculum, which is health and safety, and is age-appropriate for each grade level. This is about making sure younger children know what kind of touching is inappropriate, whether by peers or predators. It’s about helping older students recognize and resist abusive or coercive behavior. It’s about teaching all children to respect diversity and not to bully others. […] There are children who will be targeted for molestation in the coming year, there are young women who may face sexual coercion or assault. They need access to information and lessons that will enable them to make decisions to ensure their health and safety.”

Since the first in 1914, Washington voters have decided 38 statewide veto referendum measures at the ballot. The most recent veto referendum was on the ballot in Washington in 2019, when voters rejected Initiative 1000, an affirmative action-related measure approved by the legislature. In 81.6% of veto referendums (31 of 38), voters repealed the targeted bill. Conversely, in 18.4% (seven of 37) of veto referendums, voters upheld the targeted law.

Additional Reading:

U.S. District Court ruled that Idaho must allow Reclaim Idaho to collect electronic signatures or put the group’s initiative on the ballot directly

On June 23, 2020, United States District Court Judge Lynn Winmill ruled that Idaho officials must do one of two things: (a) allow Reclaim Idaho, sponsors of the Idaho Income Tax Increases for Education Funding Initiative, to gather signatures electronically, or (b) place the ballot initiative on the November ballot themselves. Judge Winmill concluded that the state restrictions in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus infringed on petitioners’ First Amendment rights to place an initiative on the ballot.

Luke Mayville, a co-founder of Reclaim Idaho, said, “This court decision is a major victory for the kids of Idaho, for the working families of Idaho who want to give their kids a chance to succeed and, maybe more than anything, this decision is a major victory for the constitutional right of every Idaho citizen to petition their government.” The campaign had collected 30,000 signatures out of the 55,000 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot before suspending its campaign in March.

The judge gave state officials until Friday to decide how the state would proceed. Governor Brad Little (R) and Secretary of State Lawerence Denney (R) responded to the ruling in a statement saying, “This decision is a surprising exercise of judicial activism. We plan to appeal this decision immediately.”

Reclaim Idaho filed the lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to grant the campaign 48 more days to gather signatures and temporary permission to use electronic signatures. The campaign announced on March 18 that they were suspending its signature drive. The 48-day extension equals the number of days between the date the campaign suspended its signature drive and the original May 1 signature deadline.

The measure was designed to increase the income tax rate for individuals with incomes above $250,000, increase the corporate income tax rate, and create and funded the Quality Education Fund.

Twelve of the 26 states that permit statewide initiative and/or referendum feature at least one lawsuit challenging ballot measure deadlines and requirements. The subjects of the lawsuits include the use of electronic signatures, notarization requirements, signature deadlines, and signature requirements.

Additional Reading:

Californians to vote on ballot measure to provide state stem cell research institute with more money

With the signature verification deadline on June 25, the eighth citizen-initiated measure has qualified for the ballot in California. On June 22, the office of Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that enough signatures had been collected for a ballot initiative to fund the state’s stem cell research institute with a $5.5 billion general obligation bond.

In 2004, voters approved Proposition 71, which created the institute, which is known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM); issued $3.00 billion in bonds to finance CIRM; and established a state constitutional right to conduct stem cell research. As of October 2019, CIRM had $132 million in funds remaining. On July 1, 2019, CIRM suspended applications for new projects due to depleted funds.

Californians for Stem Cell Research, Treatments & Cures is leading the campaign in support of the ballot initiative. Through June 22, the campaign had raised $2.07 million, with Robert N. Klein II providing $4.63 million of that total. Klein is chairperson of the campaign, and he was the chairperson of the campaign behind Proposition 71 in 2004. Klein also served as the first chair of the committee that governs CIRM. Klein is a real estate investor who cites his son’s Type 1 diabetes as one reason for his involvement in stem cell research.

Besides issuing a $5.5 billion grant for CIRM, the ballot initiative would also make changes to the institute’s structure, in part to provide more resources related to treatment access. CIRM has three working groups that advise the governing committee, one each for medical research funding, research standards, and facilities grants. The ballot initiative would create a fourth working group, which would focus on improving access to treatments and cures.

Californians last voted on a bond measure at the election on March 3, 2020. Proposition 13 would have issued $15 billion for school and college facilities, but 53 percent of voters rejected the proposal. Since 1993, voters have rejected 12 of 44 (27.3 percent) bond issues on the statewide ballot in California. Most of the bond measures (36 of 44) were legislative referrals. The remaining eight were citizen-initiated measures. Voters approved 75 percent of the legislature’s bond measures and 62.5 percent of citizen-initiated bond measures.

Unless the California State Legislature passes a bond measure for the general election ballot before June 25, which is the deadline to refer ballot measures, the stem cell bond ballot initiative will be the only bond issue on the California ballot in November.

Additional Reading:

Oklahoma to decide State Question 802 to expand Medicaid on June 30

Oklahoma voters will decide State Question 802 on June 30. The initiative would expand Medicaid in Oklahoma under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It would provide Medicaid coverage for certain low-income adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL). For 2020, the FPL is $12,490 for individuals and $25,750 for a family of four. Because the ACA includes a 5% income disregard, this measure would effectively expand Medicaid to those with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.

June 24 is the deadline to request an absentee ballot for the June 30 election.

Medicaid is a government program that provides medical insurance to groups of low-income people and individuals with disabilities. The ACA provided for the expansion of Medicaid to cover all individuals earning incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in NFIB v. Sebelius that the federal government could not withhold funds from states that refused to expand Medicaid. The ruling had the practical effect of making Medicaid expansion optional for states. In 2018, the federal government financed 94% of the costs of state Medicaid expansion. For 2020 and subsequent years, the federal government was set to cover 90% of the costs. As of 2020, 14 states, had chosen not to expand Medicaid according to the ACA.

Yes on State Question 802—Oklahomans Decide Healthcare is registered with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission to support State Question 802. Vote No on 802 Association, chaired by John Tidwell, state director of Americans for Prosperity, is registered to oppose State Question 802. Campaign finance reports are due on July 31, 2020, for the period covering April 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020. As of June 22, Vote No on 802 Association reported $165,550.97 in independent expenditures for state question communications purposes including mailers and advertisements. Yes on State Question 802 had not reported any independent expenditures. Reports of cash and in-kind contributions to the committees and expenditures by the committees are due on July 31, 2020.

Oklahomans Decide Healthcare said, “Expanding Medicaid will [make] our families healthier and our economy stronger. It will deliver healthcare to those who need it, including many parents, seniors, and hardworking folks who earn less than $17,000 a year. It will also bring more than a billion of our tax dollars home from Washington, D.C. every year to create jobs, boost our economy, and keep our rural hospitals open. That’s money that 36 other states that have expanded Medicaid get, but Oklahoma has lost out on for years.” State Question 802 is supported by the Oklahoma Hospital Association, State Medical Association, Osteopathic Association, and Nurses Association.

A spokeswoman for Governor Kevin Stitt (R) said, “If SQ 802 passes, our state agencies will experience deep cuts, because the ballot measure offers no mechanism to pay for it. The governor does not support this unfunded mandate.” Stitt had announced a Medicaid expansion plan set to take effect July 1, 2020, and a Medicaid program plan under the Healthy Adult Opportunity (HAO) federal program referred to as SoonerCare 2.0 designed to take effect July 1, 2021. On May 28, 2020, the state withdrew the expansion plan for certain low-income adults that was set to take effect on July 1, 2020. The expansion was withdrawn after Stitt vetoed a bill designed to fund the programs, citing funding concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. The SoonerCare 2.0 program under the HAO was posted for public comment through June 27, 2020.

Stitt said, “I appreciate the willingness of the Legislature to craft a proposal to fund SoonerCare 2.0. When I announced SoonerCare 2.0, unemployment rates were at 3.2 percent. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty within energy markets and commodity prices, unemployment rates are predicted to be as high as 14 percent. This will not only increase the number of individuals currently enrolled in Medicaid, but will also increase the number of potential enrollees in the expanded population.”

On August 4, Missouri voters will also decide a Medicaid Expansion initiative. The default election date for both the Oklahoma and Missouri initiatives was the November 3 general election. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) and Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) both opted to put the initiatives on their states’ primary election ballots instead.

In November 2018, voters in Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and Utah decided ballot initiatives concerning Medicaid expansion and the funding of expanded Medicaid coverage. In January 2018, voters in Oregon approved Measure 101, thereby upholding 2017 legislation to provide funding for the state’s portion of costs for expanded Medicaid coverage through a tax on healthcare insurance and the revenue of certain hospitals. In 2017, voters in Maine approved the first citizen initiative used to implement an optional provision of Obamacare.

Additional Reading:

Massachusetts Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative submits second round of signatures ahead of July 1 deadline

On June 17, Voter Choice Massachusetts, which is sponsoring the Massachusetts Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative, announced that it had submitted 25,000 signatures to city and town clerks. For this second round, 13,374 valid signatures are required to qualify for the November ballot.

The initiative would enact ranked-choice voting for elections in Massachusetts, excluding presidential electors, county commissioners, and regional district school committees, as well as elections in caucuses. As of June 2020, Maine was the only state to have adopted and implemented ranked-choice voting at the state level.

RCV is a voting method in which voters rank candidates according to their preferences. A candidate that receives a majority of first-preference votes is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated, and votes are redistributed in rounds until one candidate has a majority.

Citizens of Massachusetts may initiate legislation through the process of indirect initiative. A first round of signatures equal to 3 percent of the votes cast for governor is required to put an initiative before the legislature. A second round of signatures equal to 0.5 percent of the votes cast for governor in the last election is required to put the measure on the ballot if the legislature rejects or declines to act on a proposed initiated statute.

Campaigns for 2020 Massachusetts initiatives needed to submit 80,239 signatures for the first round by November 20, 2019. Voter Choice Massachusetts submitted 111,268 valid signatures to the Secretary of State. Since the state legislature did not enact the law by May 5, 2020, the campaign moved on to the second round of signature gathering to place the initiative on the November ballot. The campaign needed to submit 13,374 valid signatures by July 1, 2020.

In April 2020, Voter Choice Massachusetts and the other three campaigns gathering a second round of signatures for proposed initiatives—Massachusetts “Right to Repair” Initiative, the Nursing Homes Medicaid Ratemaking Initiative, and the Beer and Wine in Food Stores Initiative—filed a joint lawsuit challenging the state’s prohibition of electronic signatures. The lawsuit argued that the restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic inhibited their right to petition the government. The four campaigns and Secretary of State William Galvin agreed to a resolution that allowed the campaigns to gather the second round of signatures electronically and remotely through mail or email.

In the press release from Voter Choice Massachusetts, Cara Brown McCormick, a senior advisor to the campaign, said, “This was the first electronic signature drive to get a citizen’s initiative on the ballot in American history. Together we gathered signatures at a rate of one every two minutes for 40 days in a row, and were fortunate to be able to do the whole drive while keeping everyone safe.”

Between 1996 and 2018, about 54 percent (21 of 39) of the total number of measures that appeared on statewide ballots in Massachusetts were approved, and about 46 percent (18 of 39) were defeated.

Additional Reading:

Colorado to vote on repeal of Gallagher Amendment

The Colorado Legislature referred a constitutional amendment to the 2020 ballot that would repeal the Gallagher Amendment of 1982. The Gallagher Amendment limits the residential and non-residential property tax assessment rates so that residential property tax revenue equals 45% of the total share of state property tax revenue and non-residential property tax revenue equals 55% of the total share of state property tax revenue.

Under the Gallagher Amendment, property tax assessment rates were initially set in the state constitution to be 29% for non-residential property and 21% for residential property. The residential assessment rate was adjusted every two years so as to maintain the 45%-55% split between the total share of property tax revenue. The current residential property tax assessment rate is 7.15%.

The legislature also passed a companion bill, Senate Bill 20-223, which would take effect if voters approve the constitutional amendment. Senate Bill 223 would prohibit the legislature from changing assessment rates for property, thereby freezing the current rates of 7.15% for residential property and 29% for non-residential property. Under the Gallagher Amendment, property tax assessment rates were expected to decrease. Therefore, removing the Gallagher Amendment and freezing property tax rates at current levels was expected to result in higher residential assessment rates than under the Gallagher Amendment.

The amendment was introduced in the Senate on June 1, 2020. The measure’s primary sponsors were Senators Jack Tate (R) and Chris Hansen (D) and Representatives Daneya Esgar (D) and Matt Soper (R). The measure was passed by the Senate on June 9 in a vote of 27-7 and was passed by the House in a vote of 51-14 on June 12, 2020. All no votes came from Republican legislators.

Coloradans are set to vote on a total of eight ballot measures in November. However, the state legislature passed a bill that would delay one of the measures, a transportation bond issue, to the 2021 ballot if signed by Governor Jared Polis (D).

In addition, 14 citizen initiatives have been cleared for signature gathering in Colorado with signatures due by August 3 to qualify for the 2020 ballot.

Voters in California will decide a ballot initiative to enact new dialysis clinic requirements

Californians will vote on a ballot initiative related to dialysis clinics for the second general election in a row unless the proposal is withdrawn. On June 15, the office of California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that enough signatures were collected for a dialysis clinic-related ballot initiative to appear on the November 3 ballot. Proponents filed 1.01 million signatures in April. At least 623,212 of the signatures needed to be valid. Based on random samples, an estimated 739,326 signatures were valid.

The ballot initiative would require chronic dialysis clinics to: have an on-site physician while patients are being treated; report data on dialysis-related infections; obtain consent from the state health department before closing a clinic; and not discriminate against patients based on the source of payment for care.

In 2018, voters rejected a ballot initiative, titled Proposition 8, that would have required dialysis clinics to refund patients (or their insurers) for profits above a certain threshold. Proposition 8 was the most expensive ballot measure of 2018, with campaign committees receiving a combined $130.43 million. Opponents raised 85 percent ($111.48 million) of the $130.43 million. Contributors to the opposition campaign included DaVita ($67.03 million), Fresenius Medical Care North America (33.98 million), and U.S. Renal Care ($8.18 million). Supporters raised $18.94 million, with $17.87 million coming from the SEIU-UHW West.

Based on the most recent campaign finance filings on March 31, the conflict surrounding the union’s new ballot initiative involves the same organizations as Proposition 8. The SEIU-UHW West has raised $5.91 million. Opponents have raised $2.02 million, with DaVita and Fresenius each providing $1.01 million.

The ballot initiative is the seventh to qualify for the November 2020 ballot in California. The deadline for signature verification is June 25. Two ballot initiatives are currently undergoing a random sample of signatures. The California State Legislature also has until June 25 to refer measures to the general election ballot.

Additional Reading:

Georgians to vote in November on waiving state’s sovereign immunity

The Georgia State Legislature on Tuesday gave final approval to House Resolution 1023, sending it to the November 2020 ballot. The measure would allow residents to seek declaratory relief from state or local laws that are found to violate the U.S. Constitution, state Constitution, or state law. Under the amendment, a court could not award damages, attorney’s fees, or other costs of litigation unless authorized by the state legislature. After granting declaratory judgment, a court would be able to block the law or act in question. If approved, the amendment would waive the state’s sovereign immunity for any acts occurring on or after January 1, 2021.

This amendment was sponsored by Republican Representative Andrew Welch. On February 20, 2020, the state House passed HR 1023 unanimously. On June 15, 2020, the state Senate unanimously approved an amended version of the measure, which was then approved unanimously in the House on June 16, 2020.

One other constitutional amendment is also set to appear on the statewide ballot in Georgia this November. The amendment would authorize the Georgia State Legislature to pass legislation establishing special funds with dedicated revenue sources to fund statute specific projects. Statutes that impose such taxes and fees would need to reference the amendment and identify the government agency responsible for administering the revenue in its text.

The state legislature reconvened its session on June 15 after it had been suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The legislative session is limited to 40 legislative days and, as of Wednesday, there were eight days left of the legislative session.

From 1996 to 2018, 81 measures were on the ballot in Georgia. Of the total, 84% (68 of 81) were approved and 16% (13 of 81) were defeated.

Additional Reading:

Maine Republican Party files signatures for veto referendum to repeal ranked-choice voting for presidential elections

On June 15, signatures were filed for a veto referendum to repeal Maine LD 1803, which established ranked-choice voting for presidential elections. Under LD 1803, Maine is slated to use ranked-choice voting to elect the president for the first time on November 3, 2020.

The Maine Republican Party led the signature-gathering efforts for the veto referendum. Demi Kouzounas, chairperson of the Maine Republican Party, filed the veto referendum on February 3, 2020. Proponents needed to collect 63,067 valid signatures. The office of Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced that proponents reported filing 68,000 signatures. Dunlap’s office has 30 days (from June 15) to review the signatures. The measure would appear on the November ballot.

A successful signature drive would suspend the law until voters decide the law’s fate, meaning ranked-choice voting would not be used for the presidential election on November 3, 2020.

LD 1803 was passed by the legislature on August 26, 2019. Gov. Janet Mills (D) said she would hold LD 1083 until the following year. By holding the bill until the next legislative session, LD 1083 did not go into effect until after the state’s presidential primary election on March 3, 2020.

The veto referendum would be the third ranked-choice voting ballot measure in Maine since 2016. Voters approved Question 5, which established a first-in-the-nation statewide system of ranked-choice voting, in 2016. In 2017, the legislature passed a bill that was written to postpone and repeal ranked-choice voting unless the legislature referred and voters approved a constitutional amendment. The Committee for Ranked-Choice Voting, which sponsored Question 5, launched a veto referendum campaign to overturn LD 1646. On the ballot as Question 1, the veto referendum was approved with 53.9 percent of the vote. Therefore, LD 1646 was repealed and ranked-choice voting remained in effect, except for general elections for state legislative and executive offices.

At the election on November 6, 2018, ranked-choice voting (RCV) was used for the first time in a general election. Both Sen. Angus King (I) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) won their respective seats without the need for ranked-choice tabulations. In the 2nd congressional district, the initial vote count showed that incumbent Bruce Poliquin (R) had received 46.3 percent of the vote, and challenger Jared Golden (D) had received 45.6 percent of the vote. Independents received 8.1 percent of the vote. On November 15, 2018, Dunlap announced that after the lowest vote-getters were eliminated and votes were reallocated, incumbent Rep. Poliquin received 49.4 percent of the vote, and challenger Golden received 50.6 percent of the vote. The race was the first in U.S. history where ranked-choice voting was used to decide a congressional election.

Voters in Alaska and Massachusetts could also decide ranked-choice voting ballot measures in November. In Alaska, a measure is certified for the ballot that would, among other policies, establish ranked-choice voting for general elections. In Massachusetts, a ranked-choice voting campaign is expected to file a second round of signatures before the deadline on July 1, 2020.

See also:

Colorado Legislature gives final approval to a charitable bingo and raffles amendment and a cigarette tax increase measure

On Monday, the Colorado State Legislature sent two measures to the November 2020 ballot.

One measure would amend the state constitution to require charitable organizations to have existed for three years before obtaining a charitable gaming license instead of the current constitutional requirement of five years. The amendment would allow charitable organizations to hire managers and operators of gaming activities so long as they are not paid more than the minimum wage. Currently, the constitution requires those who operate charitable gaming activities to be a member of the organization working as an unpaid volunteer.

The other measure would increase cigarette taxes and create a new tax on nicotine products such as e-cigarettes. It would dedicate revenues to various health and education programs. The measure requires voter approval under TABOR since it would increase state revenue. The TABOR Amendment requires voter approval for all new taxes, tax rate increases, extensions of expiring taxes, mill levy increases, valuation for property assessment increases, or tax policy changes resulting in increased tax revenue. The Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights was passed in 1992 as Initiative 1 by a vote of 53.68% to 46.32%. The measure was spearheaded by Colorado activist Douglas Bruce (R). TABOR limits the amount of money the state of Colorado can take in and spend. It limits the annual increase for some state revenue to inflation plus the percentage change in state population. Any money collected above this limit is refunded to taxpayers unless the voters allow the state to spend it.

Currently, in Colorado, cigarettes are taxed at a base rate of one cent per cigarette. The measure would incrementally increase the per-cigarette base tax rate as follows:
  1. 6.5 cents per cigarette from January 1, 2021, to July 1, 2024;
  2. 8 cents per cigarette from July 1, 2024, to July 1, 2027; and
  3. 10 cents per cigarette after July 1, 2027.

Additionally, Amendment 35 of 2004 authorized an additional tax of 3.2 cents per cigarette. Revenues from this additional voter-approved tax are exempt from the TABOR limit.

With the addition of these two measures, Coloradans are set to vote on a total of eight ballot measures in November. However, the state legislature passed a bill that would delay one of the measures, a transportation bond issue, to the 2021 ballot if signed by Governor Jared Polis (D).

A measure to repeal the Gallagher Amendment of 1982 was also referred to the 2020 ballot by the legislature. The Gallagher Amendment limits the residential and non-residential property tax assessment rates so that residential property taxes equal 45% of the total share of state property taxes and non-residential property taxes equal 55% of the total share of state property taxes. The measure was passed by the Senate on June 9 in a vote of 27-7 and was passed by the House in a vote of 51-14 on June 12, 2020.

Fourteen citizen initiatives have been cleared for signature gathering in Colorado with signatures due by August 3 to qualify for the 2020 ballot.

Additional reading: