2016 Election: Ballot measures around the country


Here are the ballot measures we’ll be watching tonight.

Minimum wage increases and paid sick leave

Minimum wage increases are on the ballot in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington — and two of them also would mandate that workers get paid sick leave. And in South Dakota, voters seek to overturn a sub-minimum the Legislature established for underage workers.

Right to Work

State laws known as “right-to-work” ban any requirement that union-represented workers pay dues to the union. It’s a way to make sure unions are weak and poorly funded. Twenty-six states are now “right to work” states, and two more — Virginia and Alabama — could go tonight. But in South Dakota, unions are backing an initiative that would undermine the state’s right-to-work law.

South Dakota: Initiated Measure 23 creates an end-run around the state’s “right-to-work” law, by allowing unions to charge non-members for services DEFEATED

Tax Fairness

  • California: Proposition 55 increases personal income tax on incomes over $250,000 PASSED
  • Oregon: Measure 97 raises $3 billion a year for K-12 schools, health care and senior services by levying a 2.5 percent gross receipts tax on corporate sales over $25 million. FAILED
  • Maine: Question 2 sets a 3 percent tax on household income over $200,000 to fund K-12 PASSED

Health care

  • California: Proposition 61 requires state agencies to pay the same prices that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays for prescription drugs. FAILED
  • Colorado: Amendment 69 sets up a single payer health care system. FAILED
  • Ashland, Oregon: Measure 15-154 encourages the 2017 Legislature to utilize the results of a single payer health care study authorized in 2013 and 2015 to design a system that provides comprehensive health care for all Oregon residents, ensures choice of provider, and has effective cost controls, equitable access, and a focus on preventative care PASSED


  • Nevada: Question 3 opposed by the Nevada AFL-CIO, IBEW Local 1245, Culinary Local 226, is a constitutional change removing all limits on what electricity providers could charge. PASSED
  • Oregon: Measure 98 mandates funding increases for dropout-prevention, career technical education, and college readiness programs in Oregon high schools. PASSED
  • Washington: I-1501 sponsored by SEIU 775, the union that represents state-paid homecare workers, I-501 would exempt from public disclosure the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of in-home caregivers and the clients they serve. It would also increase civil penalties on those who defraud senior citizens and other vulnerable people. PASSED!
  • Washington: I-732 places a carbon emission tax on the sale or use of fossil fuels and fossil-fuel-generated electricity. Labor opposes it because rather than use the funds to build clean energy infrastructure and increase conservation, it lowers other taxes. The carbon tax would start at $15 per metric ton of emissions in July 2017, rising to $25 in July 2018, and then annually by 3.5 percent plus inflation until it reaches $100 per metric ton. Meanwhile, the measure would lower the state sales tax from 6.5 to 5.5 percent, increase a tax credit for low-income families, and reduce the business and occupation tax rate on manufacturers from 0.484 to almost nothing – 0.001 percent. Measure sponsors wanted I-732 to be revenue neutral, but they miscalculated, and it actually would result in a cut in state funding for schools and services of over $100 million a year. DEFEATED

Political reform

  • Maine: Question 5 creates a system of ranked choice or instant runoff voting PASSED
  • Washington: I-735 to repeal Citizens United. In its 2010 Citizens United decision, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated limits on corporate expenditures for political candidates. I-735 would  urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations. PASSED
  • California: Proposition 59 urges constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United PASSED


Legalization is on the ballot in five states:

  • Arizona FAILED
  • California PASSED
  • Maine PASSED
  • Massachusetts PASSED
  • Nevada PASSED

Medical marijuana is on the ballot in four states:

  • Arkansas PASSED
  • Florida PASSED
  • Montana PASSED
  • North Dakota PASSED


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read more