Tagballot measures

Arizona voters could decide an amendment in 2022 designed to prevent critical race theory in schools

On Nov. 8, 2022, Arizona voters could decide a constitutional amendment designed to prevent what the measure’s proponents calls critical race theory.

On Feb. 17, the Arizona House of Representatives approved House Concurrent Resolution 2001 (HCR 2001), passing the amendment by a vote of 31-28. The vote was along party lines, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. Republicans have a 16-14 majority in the state Senate.

The official title of the HCR 2001 is the “Stop Critical Race Theory and Racial Discrimination in Schools and Other Public Institutions Act.” The purpose section of the resolution states that ideologies and practices known as critical race theory contradict the Fourteenth Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Arizona Constitution by dividing people based on race and ethnicity.

The measure would amend the sections of the constitution that deal with preferential treatment and discrimination (Section 36 of Article II) and education (Article XI). Among other provisions and details, the measure would:

  1. limit any affirmative action policies taken in order to qualify for a federal program to outreach, advertising, and communication;
  2. prohibit compelling or soliciting any applicant, teacher, employee, or student to support an ideology or movement that promotes differential treatment based on race or giving preference based on such support; and
  3. prohibit any public education employee from endorsing ideas that violate the Civil Rights Act and Article II of the Arizona Constitution or requiring participation in training that promotes them. The amendment would specify seven such ideas, including: “That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or ethnicity, is subject to blame or judgment or bears responsibility for actions committed by other members of the same race or ethnic group.”

Rep. Steve Kaiser (R) said the amendment would make sure “Arizona’s students and teachers are never discriminated against based upon their race or taught to discriminate against others based on race.”

Rep. Jennifer Pawlik (D), a teacher, said the amendment seeks to address something that’s not an issue in schools. Pawlic said, “We aren’t planning lessons that will tear down children and make them feel badly about themselves, their culture, or their gender. That’s not what teachers do.”

The legislature is also considering a statutory bill. On Feb. 3, the Arizona House passed House Bill 2112 by a vote of 31-28. The bill would not need voter approval but would require the governor’s signature. HB 2112 has provisions similar to HCR 2001 and prohibits instruction promoting the same concepts specified and listed in HCR 2001.

In 2021, the Arizona Legislature passed and Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed legislation included in budget bills that addressed teaching about race in public schools. The Arizona Supreme Court overturned the legislation as a violation of the state’s single-subject rules for bills.

Four statewide measures are currently certified for the Nov. 8 ballot in Arizona. One measure that was put on the ballot by the legislature would allow some non-citizen students to receive in-state college tuition. The legislature also put two constitutional amendments on the ballot concerning the state’s citizen initiative process. The fourth measure is a veto referendum against a 2021 bill to reduce the state’s income tax brackets to two and provide for a flat rate when state revenue reaches a certain threshold.

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Vermont voters to decide whether to add a right to personal reproductive autonomy to the state constitution in November

On Feb. 8, the Vermont House of Representatives took the final vote to send Proposal 5 to the November ballot. Proposal 5 would add language to the Vermont Constitution stating that “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course.” The amendment would prohibit the constitutional right from being denied or infringed unless there is a compelling state interest, which would need to be achieved using the least restrictive means.

The amendment has received support from the University of Vermont Medical Center, ACLU of Vermont, and League of Women Voters of Vermont. Rep. Ann Pugh (D-Chittenden) said, “The lack of a definitive enumeration of reproductive liberty in Vermont’s Constitution, the threats to Roe v. Wade being weakened or overturned by a very conservative US Supreme Court, and the cloud of multi-state efforts to erode reproductive autonomy all build a strong case for Proposition 5.”

Rep. Anne Donahue (R-Washington), who voted against the amendment, said she was worried about how the term, “reproductive autonomy,” could evolve. She said, “It’s a term far more open to interpretation and, in fact, could mean a great many things that we don’t currently envision.”

In Vermont, a constitutional amendment requires a vote in each chamber of the Vermont General Assembly in two successive legislative sessions with an election in between. However, there are different vote requirements depending on the session and chamber. During the first legislative session, a constitutional amendment needs to receive a two-thirds vote in the state Senate and a simple majority (50%+1) vote in the state House. During the second legislative session, a constitutional amendment needs to receive a simple majority vote in each legislative chamber.

The amendment was introduced during the 2019-2020 legislative session. The lead sponsors were State Sens. Timothy Ashe (D-Chittenden), Becca Balint (D-Windham), Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden), and Richard Sears (D-Bennington).

On April 4, 2019, the state Senate approved Proposal 5 in a vote of 28-2. To meet the two-thirds vote requirement, at least 21 votes were needed to pass the amendment. On May 7, 2019, the state House approved Proposal 5 in a vote of 106-38, with four members absent and one member abstaining. To meet the simple majority requirement, at least 73 votes were needed.

The amendment was taken up again during the 2021-2022 legislative session. On April 9, 2021, the state Senate approved the amendment by a vote of 26-4. A simple majority of 15 was required to pass the amendment in the senate the second time. On February 8, 2022, the state House approved the amendment by a vote of 107-41.

The amendment is one of three amendments related to abortion that has qualified for a statewide 2022 ballot. In August, Kansas voters will decide a constitutional amendment that would say that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion. In November, Kentucky voters will also decide a constitutional amendment to adopt similar language.

In Michigan, a citizen initiative targeting the 2022 ballot has been proposed that would create a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom. Nicole Wells Stallworth, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, said, “We have reached a critical moment in history for abortion access in Michigan with the Supreme Court poised to overturn nearly 50 years of precedent and restrict abortion access for 2.2 million Michiganders. We are exploring a ballot measure that would preserve every individual’s constitutional right to make the very personal decision about reproductive healthcare.”

Ballotpedia has identified six ballot measures to amend state constitutions to declare that nothing in the state constitution provides a right to abortion. In Tennessee (2014), Alabama (2018), West Virginia (2018), and Louisiana (2020), these constitutional amendments were passed. In Massachusetts (1986) and Florida (2012), these constitutional amendments were defeated.

In November, Vermont voters will also decide Proposal 2, which would prohibit slavery and indentured servitude without exception in the state constitution. The 2022 amendments are the first to appear on Vermont ballots since 2010. Between 1995 and 2022, Vermont voters approved the only other two amendments that appeared on statewide ballots.

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Texas Republican Party places nonbinding advisory questions on March primary ballot

The Texas Republican Party has placed 10 nonbinding advisory questions on the March 1 primary ballot. The Texas Democratic Party did not place any questions on primary ballots.

An advisory question is a type of ballot measure that has no legally binding effect but serves to let voters express their opinions on a policy. The outcome of an advisory question will not result in a new, changed, or rejected law or constitutional amendment. For party-specific questions on primary election ballots, voters in different party primaries will see different propositions on their ballots, or, in the case of Texas in 2022, Republicans will see propositions, and Democrats will not.

In the introduction to the propositions on its website, the Republican Party stated, “Keep in mind that this is an opinion poll of Republican voters and not a policy referendum. When you vote YES or NO, you are telling us what you think should happen. You are not voting to make a law but merely saying YES you agree or NO you do not agree with the statement.”

The propositions address the following topics:

  • The Texas border and immigration
  • Property taxes
  • Penalties for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Race in education curriculum
  • Establishing a right to life from fertilization to natural death
  • State legislative practices
  • Penalties for election fraud and maintaining state-run elections
  • Prohibition of sex transition procedures for minors
  • Education funding
  • Freedom of individual conscience

In 2020, the Republican Party and Democratic Party placed 10 and 11 questions, respectively, on March primary ballots. The 10 Republican Party questions received a “yes” vote by at least 85.38% of voters. The question that received the highest approval rating with 98.46% was related to “[removing] illegal voters from the voter rolls and [verifying] that each new registered voter is a U.S. Citizen.” The 11 Democratic Party questions received a “yes” vote by at least 91.54% of voters. The question that received the highest approval rating with 97.63% was related to “the right to clean air, safe water, affordable and sustainable alternative energy sources, and a ​responsible climate policy.”

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Where could voters see marijuana on the ballot in 2022?

Ballotpedia is tracking 20 citizen-initiated measures in nine states related to marijuana that could appear before voters in 2022. As of 2022, recreational marijuana is legal in 18 states and Washington, D.C., and medical marijuana is legal in 36 states and D.C.

In Ohio, sponsors of an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana submitted an additional 29,918 signatures on January 13, after the secretary of state verified their initial petition contained 119,825 valid signatures–13,062 less than the number required. If enough of the additional signatures are found to be valid, the initiative will go before the state legislature. If the state legislature does not enact it outright, sponsors will have to collect a second round of 132,887 signatures to place it on the 2022 ballot. In 2015, Ohio voters defeated Issue 3 with a margin of 63.65% to 36.35%.

In Arkansas, voters could decide on two marijuana initiatives. One initiative would decriminalize marijuana, give limited immunity to cannabis businesses, and create regulations on the cannabis industry. The other would legalize marijuana use for individuals 21 years of age and older regardless of residency. Both campaigns have until July 8, 2022, to collect 89,151 valid signatures.

Florida voters could decide changes to the state’s medical marijuana amendment approved by voters in 2016 with two separate initiatives. Initiative #18-02 would add nine mental health disorders to the list of qualifying conditions to purchase and use medical marijuana. Initiative #18-05 would redefine medical use under the measure to include growing up to nine marijuana plants.

Nebraska has four initiatives cleared for circulation related to marijuana. Three of the initiatives would establish a state medical marijuana program and are sponsored by State Senators Anna Wishart (D) and Adam Morfeld (D). One initiative is a constitutional amendment, and the other two are state statutes. ​​The Nebraska Hemp Company filed a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana. The Nebraska signature deadline is July 7, 2022.

In North Dakota, an initiative was cleared for signature gathering that would legalize marijuana use for residents 21 years of age and older and allow a person to possess, grow, process, or transport up to 12 cannabis plants for personal use. In 2018, North Dakota voters defeated Measure 3, an initiative that would have legalized marijuana, in a vote of 59.45% to 40.55%.

Kind Idaho filed an initiative to establish a state medical marijuana program. Sponsors attempted to qualify an identical initiative for the 2020 Idaho ballot but suspended their signature-gathering campaign in April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Voters could also decide on an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. The initiative is sponsored by The Idaho Way. The campaigns need to submit 64,945 valid signatures by May 1, 2022.

In Missouri, there are three initiatives cleared for circulation that would legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. The initiatives were filed by three different sponsors. A constitutional amendment to change the state’s medical marijuana program approved by voters in 2018 was also cleared for circulation. It would allow medical marijuana patients to grow marijuana for personal use, decrease the cost of a patient identification card from $100 to $25, and allow up to three primary caregivers for a medical marijuana patient. The signature requirement for constitutional amendments is 160,199 signatures by May 8, 2022.

Oklahomans for Responsible Cannabis Action filed three initiatives. Two initiatives would (1) amend the state constitution to legalize marijuana for persons 21 years old and older and (2) impose a 15% excise tax on marijuana sales for purchases by an individual without a medical marijuana license. The third initiative would make changes to the state’s medical marijuana program to create the State Cannabis Commission to replace the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.

In South Dakota, an initiative to legalize marijuana was cleared for signature gathering. In 2020, 54.18% of voters approved Amendment A, which would have legalized marijuana, but it was later overturned by a supreme court ruling that found the initiative violated the state’s single-subject rule and constituted a revision of the constitution rather than an amendment. The 2022 initiative was filed by New Approach South Dakota, which also sponsored the 2020 amendment.

Initiated amendment to expand Medicaid to appear on South Dakota November 2022 ballot

On January 3, 2021, the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office announced that an initiative to expand Medicaid qualified for the November 2022 ballot with 38,244 signatures deemed to be valid. South Dakotans Decide Healthcare reported submitting 47,000 signatures for the initiated constitutional amendment on November 8, 2021. To qualify for the ballot, 33,921 valid signatures were required.

The measure, Constitutional Amendment D, would amend the constitution to require the state to provide Medicaid benefits to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level. Because the Affordable Care Act includes a 5% income disregard, this measure would effectively expand Medicaid to those with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level.

The measure is supported by the South Dakota State Medical Association, South Dakota Nurses Association, South Dakota Education Association, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, South Dakota AARP, and more.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The ACA provided for the expansion of Medicaid to cover all individuals earning incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which amounted to $17,774 for an individual and $36,570 for a family of four in 2021. The law was designed to provide 100 percent of funding to cover the new recipients for the first three years and to cut off federal Medicaid funding to states that chose not to expand coverage. However, the United States Supreme Court ruled in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012) that the federal government could not withhold Medicaid funds from states that chose not to expand eligibility. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, this ruling had the practical effect of making Medicaid expansion optional for states.

From 2014 to 2016, the federal government covered 100 percent of the costs of state expansion of Medicaid. In 2017, the total cost of expanded coverage that the federal government financed decreased to 95 percent. The ACA was designed to decrease the amount the federal government covers to 94 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2019, and 90 percent in 2020 and subsequent years.

The Affordable Care Act had not provided tax credits to adults with household incomes less than the federal poverty line because the law had aimed to cover these people under Medicaid. In states that did not expand Medicaid, many of these adults fell into a coverage gap in which they neither qualified for Medicaid nor for federal tax credits to purchase health insurance. As of 2018, around 2.5 million people fell into this coverage gap across the states that did not expand Medicaid.

To date, 38 states and Washington, D.C., have expanded Medicaid (six through ballot measures) while 12 states had not expanded Medicaid. Of the seven Medicaid expansion measures, six were approved (Maine, Utah, Nebraska, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Missouri) and one (Montana) was defeated. The Montana measure combined Medicaid expansion with a tobacco tax increase.

Constitutional Amendment C will appear on the South Dakota June 7 primary election ballot. The amendment, which was referred to the ballot by the state legislature, would require a three-fifths vote of approval for any ballot measures that increase taxes or fees or that would require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years. If Amendment C is approved by voters in June, the Medicaid expansion initiative on the November ballot would need to be approved by 60% of voters. As of 2021, ballot measures in South Dakota required a simple majority vote (50%+1) to be adopted.

A total of 67 measures appeared on statewide ballots from 2000 through 2020 in South Dakota. Of the total, 43% (29 of 67) were approved, and about 57% (38 of 67) were defeated. One measure was approved by voters but subsequently overturned by the courts, and a 2016 measure was approved but then repealed by the state legislature.

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Signature deadline for Washington 2022 Initiatives to the Legislature passes with no campaigns submitting signatures

The signature deadline for 2022 Washington Initiatives to the Legislature (ITL) was December 30, 2021. For an ITL to be taken up by the Washington State Legislature and potentially put on the ballot in 2022, proponents needed to submit 324,516 valid signatures.

Citizens of Washington may initiate legislation as either a direct state statute—called Initiative to the People (ITP) in Washington—or indirect state statute—called Initiative to the Legislature (ITL) in Washington. In Washington, citizens also have the power to repeal legislation via veto referendum. Citizens may not initiate constitutional amendments.

A total of 133 ITLs were filed by nine sponsors. None of the campaigns submitted signatures by the deadline. The filed initiatives concerned a range of topics including taxes, prohibiting mandatory vaccinations, emergency powers of the governor, and healthcare.

If campaigns submit enough valid signatures for an ITL, the initiative goes before the Washington Legislature at the next regular legislative session in January. The legislature must take one of three actions.

1. The legislature can adopt the initiative as proposed, in which case it becomes law without a vote of the people.

2. The legislature can reject or refuse to act on the proposed initiative, in which case the initiative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.

3. The legislature can approve an alternative to the proposed initiative, in which case both the original proposal and the legislature’s alternative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election.

Thirty-four Initiatives to the Legislature have been on the ballot since the first ITL in 1916; 18 were approved. The most recent ITL, Initiative 976, was on the ballot in 2019. It was approved but later invalidated by the Washington State Supreme Court.

Besides Initiatives to the Legislature, Washington citizens may sign petitions for Initiatives to the People. These initiatives are direct initiatives, meaning that if enough valid signatures are collected, election officials place the measure directly on the next general election ballot for a vote. Initiatives to the People (ITP) may be filed targeting the 2022 ballot with a signature due date of July 8, 2022.

The number of required signatures for 2022 Initiatives to the People and veto referendums is based on the number of votes cast for gubernatorial candidates in 2020. To qualify an ITP or ITL for the 2022 ballot, 324,516 valid signatures are required. For veto referendums, signatures must be filed with the secretary of state within 90 days after the adjournment of the legislative session at which the targeted legislation was passed. To qualify a veto referendum for the 2022 ballot, 162,258 valid signatures are required.

A total of 66 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Washington during even years between 2000 and 2021. Of the 66 measures, 54.55% (36) were approved and 45.45% (30) were defeated.

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Voters in seven states decided on 24 constitutional amendments in 2021, adopting 16 of them

Every state but Delaware requires voters to ratify proposed changes to a state’s constitution.

There are four ways that proposed constitutional amendments can be proposed and put on the ballot:

  1. Through legislatively referred constitutional amendments.
  2. Through citizen-initiated constitutional amendments put on the ballot through signature petition drives. Eighteen states allow this method of amendment.
  3. Through referral by constitutional conventions. In some states, automatic ballot referrals allow voters to decide at regular intervals whether or not to hold a convention.
  4. In Florida, there is a commission-referred amendment process through the Constitution Revision Commission that meets every 20 years. It last met in 2018.

From 2006 through 2021 a total of 1,040 constitutional amendments were proposed and put before voters. This data only includes constitutional amendments put on the ballot for a statewide vote. It does not include certain state constitutional amendments that only apply to local jurisdictions and were voted on only by residents of particular local jurisdictions. It also does not include constitutional amendments in Delaware that weren’t subject to voter ratification. Of this total, voters approved 749 (72%) proposed changes to state constitutions.

In 2021, voters in seven states decided 24 constitutional amendments. Of the 24 proposed amendments, state legislatures referred 23 to the ballot, and a signature petition drive was used to initiate one in Colorado. Of the 24 amendments, 16 (66.66%) were approved. The seven states with constitutional amendments in 2021 were:

  1. Colorado – 1
  2. Louisiana – 4
  3. Maine – 1
  4. New Jersey – 2
  5. New York – 4
  6. Pennsylvania – 3
  7. Texas – 8

Below are some of the notable amendments approved in 2021:

  1. Maine voters enacted a first-of-its-kind constitutional right to produce, harvest, and consume food.
  2. New York voters enacted a constitutional right to clean air, clean water, and a healthful environment.
  3. Pennsylvania voters approved two amendments providing limits to and giving the legislature additional authority over the governor’s emergency declaration powers. Both were put on the ballot in response to conflict over responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Texas voters also approved two constitutional amendments in response to COVID-19: an amendment to prohibit the state or any political subdivision from enacting a law, rule, order, or proclamation that limits religious services or organizations; and an amendment creating a constitutional right for residents of nursing homes to designate an essential caregiver that may not be prohibited from visiting the resident.

Statistically, from 2006 through 2021, odd-year election cycles featured a higher approval rate for proposed constitutional amendments than even years. The average number of statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot in an odd-numbered year was 21, with an average approval rate of 81.10%. In even-numbered years, an average of 109 statewide constitutional amendments were on the ballot with an average approval rate of 70.27%.

Among states with a process for initiated constitutional amendments, Florida and Colorado featured the most proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot from 2006 through 2021, with a total of 56 and 53, respectively. Of that total, Florida voters approved 37, and Colorado voters approved 21. Among all 50 states, Louisiana featured the most proposed constitutional amendments (108) and the most approved amendments (77).

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State signature deadline for Massachusetts 2022 initiatives was Wednesday

Three initiative campaigns submitted more than the required number of validated signatures (80,239) to the Massachusetts secretary of state on Dec. 1. This means that the initiatives will go to the Massachusetts General Court. If the general court does not enact the initiatives, a smaller second round of signatures will be required to put the measures on the 2022 ballot.

The preliminary deadline to submit signatures for verification to local registrars before submitting them to the secretary of state was Nov. 17.

One initiative would classify app-based drivers as independent contractors and enact several labor policies related to app-based companies. One initiative would incrementally increase the number of alcohol licenses an establishment could hold and prohibit self-checkout sales of alcohol. The third initiative would enact a medical loss ratio for dental benefit plans of 83%.

Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work is sponsoring the app-based drivers initiative and reported submitting over 130,000 signatures to local registrars. The final number of certified signatures submitted to the secretary of state on Wednesday is unknown.

The Massachusetts Package Stores Association (MPSA) is sponsoring the alcohol retail licensing initiative and reported submitting 109,000 certified signatures to the secretary of state.

Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah filed the dental medical loss ratio question and reported submitting 104,000 validated signatures to the secretary of state. 

The power of initiative is indirect in Massachusetts, which means the Massachusetts General Court must consider any successful initiative petitions.

Once enough valid signatures are submitted, proposed statutory initiatives are presented to the legislature. Statutes may be adopted by the legislature by a majority vote in both houses. If a statute proposed by a valid initiative petition is not adopted, proponents must collect another, smaller round of signatures to place the initiative on the ballot. For the first round of signatures, the required number is equal to 3% of the votes cast for governor or 80,239 signatures. The second round total is equal to 0.5% of the votes cast for governor or 13,374 signatures.

Once the secretary of state certifies the initiative petitions to the state legislature, they have until May 4, 2022, to pass them or send them to the 2022 ballot. The deadline for the second round of signatures would be July 6, 2022.

Between 2016 and 2021, 109 initiatives were filed in Massachusetts. Of that total, 72 were cleared for circulation, and nine were certified for the ballot.

Campaign behind initiative in Mass. to classify app-based drivers as independent contractors submits 260,000 signatures to county administrators

On Nov. 16, the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work announced that they had submitted a total of 260,000 signatures to local clerks in their bid to place a ballot initiative on the 2022 ballot that was modeled after 2020’s California Proposition 22. The total number of signatures is split between two different versions of the initiative. The initiative would classify app-based drivers as independent contractors,

In Massachusetts, citizen-initiated laws are indirect ballot initiatives meaning they can be enacted by the state legislature or be sent to the ballot. For the 2022 ballot, initiative campaigns are required to submit an initial round of signatures equal to 3% of the votes cast for governor (80,239 signatures) to local registrars on Nov. 17 before submitting the petition to the secretary of state on Dec. 1. If enough signatures are submitted in the first round, the legislature must act on a successful petition by the first Wednesday of May. The measure goes on the ballot if the legislature does not pass it and if a second round of signatures is successfully collected. The second round of signatures equals 0.5% of the votes cast for governor (13,374 signatures) and is due July 6, 2022.

The ballot initiative would define app-based drivers as independent contractors if they meet the following criteria:

  1. couriers of a delivery network company (DNC) or drivers of a transportation network company (TNC),
  2. companies that do not prescribe the time and days worked by the courier or driver,
  3. contractors with DNC or TNC that cannot be terminated for rejecting service or delivery requests, and
  4. couriers and drivers that are not captive to any specific DNC or TNC and are not restricted from performing other work.

Examples of companies that hire app-based drivers include Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash.

The initiative would also enact labor and wage policies that are specific to app-based drivers and companies. These policies would include a net earnings floor, healthcare subsidies, paid family and medical leave, and paid sick time. Version A of the initiative would also require paid occupational safety training that would include:

  1. recognizing and preventing sexual assault or misconduct,
  2. learning collision avoidance and defensive driving techniques, and
  3. maintaining food safety for grocery or meal deliveries.

Supporters of the initiative include the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), DoorDash, InstaCart, Lyft, Massachusetts High Technology Council, Postmates, and Uber.

Prossie Namanda, a Massachusetts Instacart shopper, said, “It feels incredible to have this level of support from voters across the state. As a single mother doing this work, I’m so excited to see this progress and am grateful that people in Massachusetts recognize that drivers and shoppers should have the flexibility we want and need, with access to more benefits too.”

Opponents of the initiative include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D), NAACP New England Area Conference, ACLU Massachusetts, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and SEIU-Massachusetts.

Steven Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, said, “Big Tech should follow the same laws as everyone else, pay their taxes, contribute to Social Security, and treat their workers with basic fairness.”

In 2020, California voters approved a similar initiative, Proposition 22, by a margin of 58.6% to 41.4%. It was the most expensive ballot measure campaign in California’s history according to available records with the support campaign receiving over $200 million in contributions, including donations from Uber, Doordash, Lyft, InstaCart, and Postmates. On Aug. 20, an Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled that two sections of Proposition 22 were unconstitutional and that the measure as a whole was unenforceable. Proponents announced that they would appeal the ruling.

In September, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) announced that 17 ballot initiatives of the 30 filed in 2021 were cleared for signature gathering. The 17 initiatives included 16 initiated state statutes for the 2022 ballot and one initiated constitutional amendment that would appear on the 2024 ballot. 

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Tucson voters approve increasing the local minimum wage to $15 by 2025

On Nov. 2, Tucson voters approved Proposition 206, an initiative designed to incrementally increase the local minimum wage to $15 by 2025, and tie it to inflation thereafter. According to unofficial election results, 65% of voters approved Proposition 206. Currently, the minimum wage is $12.15.

The minimum wage will increase by the following increments:

  • $13 by April 1, 2022,
  • $13.50 by Jan. 1, 2023,
  • $14.25 by Jan. 1, 2024,
  • $15.00 by Jan. 1, 2025, and
  • increased by the rate of inflation rounded to the nearest multiple of $0.05 every January thereafter.

The initiative also requires the city to establish a Department of Labor Standards by April 1, 2022. The department was authorized to receive complaints from employees, investigate employers, and educate workers about their rights under the initiative. 

Tucson Fight for $15 sponsored the initiative. They wrote on their Facebook page, “Last night workers won! Approximately 44,000 Tucsonans voted ‘YES’ on Prop 206. This proposition not only increases Tucson’s minimum wage, but also fights against wage theft and adopts fairer payment policies.”

Opponents of the measure included Tucson Business Owners, Arizona Restaurant Association, Tucson Metro Chamber, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, and Arizona Association of Providers for People with Disabilities.

Tucson voters also decided on Proposition 410, which was designed to increase the compensation for the mayor from $42,000 to $54,000 and the compensation for city council members from $24,000 to $36,000 beginning on December 4, 2023, and tying the compensation to inflation for every following year. As of Thursday, the measure was ahead by 50.1% (33,893) to 49.9% (33,740) and is too close to call. Since 1999 when the existing compensation was set, Tucson voters have defeated eight measures to increase it.