Voters in 37 states will decide 155 public policy issues in 2018 midterm elections

A total of 155 public policy issues will be included on 2018 midterm ballots in 37 states Tuesday.

Some of the questions voters will answer involve abortion, marijuana legalization, voting rights and registration, healthcare and a carbon tax.

Abortion

In Alabama, West Virginia and Oregon, voters will decide whether or not to cut abortion funding in an effort to protect the life of the unborn.  This is the third attempt in the Mountain and Beaver states to pass such a measure.

The amendment to the respective state constitutions, however, would limit cuts to cases of life endangerment, rape and incest.

Voter registration and voting rights

Maryland, Michigan and Nevada are attempting to make voter registration more convenient. Both Michigan and Nevada proposed automatic voter registration.  When a resident receives their license, he or she will automatically be registered to cast a ballot.

In addition, Michigan and Maryland have proposed Election Day registration.

In more voting-related issues, Florida is attempting to restore voting rights to convicted felons. The Sunshine State is one of four that disenfranchises citizens convicted on a felony.

In the proposed Amendment 4, felons would gain voting rights back after completing their sentence and parole or probation. Those convicted of murder and sexual offenses, however, would be excluded.

Louisiana’s non-unanimous juries

To make jury trials fairer, the state of Louisiana has proposed Amendment 2, which states there would need to be a unanimous agreement among jurors to convict those charged with felonies.

Redistricting

Colorado, Michigan and Utah want to create independent commissions for congressional redistricting. This will ultimately affect state legislatures.

According to Michael Li of the Brennan Center for Justice, “(Independent commissions) are much fairer, especially in states where one party has sole control.”

Marijuana Legalization

Legalizing recreational marijuana is on the ballot in Republican-controlled Michigan and North Dakota.

The legalization of medical marijuana is on Missouri and Utah ballots Tuesday as well.

California’s gas tax and dialysis services

California is making efforts to repeal the gas tax, Proposition 6, and limit the amount of money dialysis companies can charge for their products, Proposition 8.

While Republicans hoped Prop 6 would boost their party’s candidates in congressional elections, a recent poll showed the effort lacking in six of seven races.

Besides limiting dialysis companies’ profit margins, Prop 8 would allow leftover dialysis operating costs to pay off insurance rebates, improve clinic quality and provide more jobs.

Universal home care in Maine

A proposal for universal home care for seniors and disabled individuals — regardless of income level — will be on Maine’s ballots in 2018.  Services would be provided by taxing 3.8 percent on residents who make more than $128,000 a year.

Medicaid extension to Affordable Care Act users

For the first time since 2012, residents in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah will vote on a provision to former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The proposal would extend Medicaid coverage to Obamacare users.

Carbon tax

Washington state will decide whether or not to implement a $15 per metric ton tax on carbon emissions, Initiative 1631.  A similar ballot question was defeated by state voters in 2016, but public polling suggests the measure may pass this time around.

Revenue collected from the tax would be used to finance “green” programs to improve energy efficiency in infrastructure, build wind and solar power sources, protect the environment and promote cleaner urban methods transportation.

 

[Washington Post] [Voice of America] [Bloomberg] [NBC News]

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