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Ballotpedia

Ballotpedia is the digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections. Our goal is to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government. We are firmly committed to neutrality in our content

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Initiative and Referendum Institute

The Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California is a non-partisan educational organization dedicated to the study of the initiative and referendum, the two most important processes of direct democracy.

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NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATORS

NCSL, founded in 1975, represents the legislatures in the states, territories and commonwealths of the U.S. Its mission is to advance the effectiveness, independence and integrity of legislatures and to foster interstate cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information among legislatures.

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National Citizens Initiative for Democracy

CITIZENS AMENDMENT to the CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES

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Citizens in Charge

Citizens in Charge is a 501 (c) (4) citizen-powered advocacy organization that serves as a partner to Citizens in Charge Foundation in protecting and expanding the initiative and referendum process. The organization works with activists, legislators, media, opinion leaders and voters to protect the initiative and referendum process where it exists in 26 states and to expand the process to the 26 states where voters currently lack that right. There never has been a more important time to defend the initiative process. Voters increasingly turn to initiatives to make needed reforms, while legislators increasingly seek to impose limitations on this process.

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The Ballot Initiative Stragety Center

Strengthening Democracy by Building a National Progressive Strategy for Ballot Measures With conservatives in control of not only the U.S. Congress, but 68 of 98 state legislative chambers and 31 governorship's, ballot measures are more important than ever. Indeed, in the states where conservatives control both legislative chambers and the governorship, ballot measures may be the only avenue for making progressive policy change.

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Bill of Rights Institute Free online classes

Established in September 1999, the Bill of Rights Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization that works to engage, educate, and empower individuals with a passion for the freedom and opportunity that exist in a free society. The Institute develops educational resources and programs for a network of more than 50,000 educators and 70,000 students nationwide.

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Institute for Free Speech

Making your voice heard in government involves more than voting on Election Day. First Amendment rights empower you to hold your representatives accountable year-round. You have the right to write a letter to your member of Congress advocating better government policies, to start a Facebook group about politics, and to organize a rally or protest. The First Amendment enables you to have your say about policy and politics. These fundamental liberties – the right to free speech, the right to peaceably assemble, the right to free press, and the right to petition your government – are essential to preserving a healthy democracy.

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Civics Education

AnnenbergClassroom.org is a project of the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics, a nonprofit, nonpartisan program of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, in partnership with the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands. Our founder, Leonore Annenberg, believed that engaged and well-informed citizens are vital to making our government work at the local, state and federal levels. AnnenbergClassroom.org strives to help develop citizens who demand and support a functioning democracy, realizing Mrs. Annenberg's vision of generations who will go out and fulfill their civic calling. A Complete Curriculum on the United States Constitution Use this guide to find videos and games that connect to the articles and amendments in the Constitution. Also available as a PDF to download and print. The Origin and Nature of the Constitution Video: Magna Carta and the Constitution – History (20 minutes) Video: Magna Carta and the Constitution (27 minutes) Handout: Key Constitutional Concepts: Creating a Constitution Video: Our Constitution: A Conversation with Justices Stephen Breyer and Sandra Day O’Connor (29 minutes) Video: Key Constitutional Concepts (60 minutes) Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia: Judicial Interpretation (37 minutes) Separation of Powers Three Branches of Government Handout: Rights at Risk in Wartime Handout: Actions That Changed the Law: Ledbetter v. Goodyear Video: Habeas Corpus: The Guantanamo Cases (25 minutes) Video: A Call to Act: Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. (23 minutes) Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justice Stephen Breyer: Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. (9 minutes) Game: Branches of Power Article I: The Legislative Branch Timeline: Article I Timeline: Article I – War Powers Handout: How a Bill Becomes a Federal Law Video: Legislative Process: How a Bill Becomes a Federal Law (19 minutes) Video: One School’s Fight: The Making of a Law (20 minutes) Timeline: Article I – Commerce Clause Game: LawCraft Article II: The Executive Branch Video: Mandate: The President and the People Timeline: Article II – Treaty-Making Authority Video: Key Constitutional Concepts (60 minutes) Video: Presidential Signing Statements Game: Executive Command Article III: The Judicial Branch Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justice Stephen Breyer: The Nature of Dissent in the Supreme Court (18 minutes) Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.: The Origin, Nature and Importance of the Supreme Court (37 minutes) Handout: An Independent Judiciary: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Cooper v. Aaron Handout: Judicial Independence: Essential, Limited, Controversial Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor: Judicial Independence (32 minutes) Video: An Independent Judiciary: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Cooper v. Aaron (34 minutes) Game: Court Quest The Amendments and Landmark Cases Video: The Story of the Bill of Rights (16 minutes) Handout: Our Heritage of Liberty: The Bill of Rights Game: Annenberg Classroom’s That’s Your Right First Amendment: Freedom of Speech, Religion, and Press Handout: Freedom of Speech: Finding the Limits Video: Freedom of the Press: New York Times v. United States (25 minutes) Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor: Freedom of Speech (29 minutes) Timeline: First Amendment – Freedom of the Press Timeline: First Amendment – Freedom of Speech Timeline: First Amendment – Freedom of Religion Timeline: First Amendment Fourth Amendment: Freedom from Unreasonable Search and Seizure Handout: Making Our Fourth Amendment Right Real: Mapp v. Ohio Video: Search and Seizure: Mapp v. Ohio (25 minutes) Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: Search and Seizure (17 min) Timeline: Fourth Amendment Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments: Juries and Trials Timeline: Fifth Amendment Handout: Your Right to Remain Silent: Miranda v. Arizona Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justice Anthony Kennedy: Miranda v. Arizona (25 minutes) Video: Right to Remain Silent: Miranda v. Arizona (25 minutes) Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor: Jury Service (10 minutes) Video: FAQs: Juries (40 minutes) Timeline: Fifth Amendment – Takings Clause Timeline: Sixth Amendment – Right to Trial by Impartial Jury Timeline: Fifth Amendment – Right to Due Process Timeline: Fifth Amendment – Right Against Self-Incrimination Timeline: Fifth Amendment – Protection Against Double Jeopardy Sixth Amendment: Right to a Speedy Trial, Impartial Jury, Confrontation of Witnesses, and Counsel Timeline: Sixth Amendment Handout: Justice for All in the Courtroom Handout: Understanding the Confrontation Clause Video: The Confrontation Clause: Crawford v. Washington (25 minutes) Handout: Key Constitutional Concepts: Right to Counsel Handout: Jury Selection on Trial Video: Key Constitutional Concepts (60 minutes) Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justice Anthony Kennedy: Miranda v. Arizona (25 minutes) Video: Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Company (23 minutes) Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor: The Right to Trial by an Impartial Jury (9 minutes) Timeline: Sixth Amendment – Right to Be Informed of Criminal Charges Timeline: Sixth Amendment – Right to Assistance of Counsel Timeline: Sixth Amendment – Right to Speedy Trial Game: Sixth Amendment Interactive Fourteenth Amendment: Due Process, Equal Protection, and Discrimination Timeline: 14th Amendment Handout: Key Constitutional Concepts: Right to Counsel Handout: When National Security Trumps Individual Rights Handout: A Conversation on the Fourteenth Amendment (42 minutes) Handout: Equal Justice Under Law: Yick Wo v. Hopkins Handout: The Power of One Decision: Brown v. Board of Education Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justice Anthony Kennedy: The Importance of the Yick Wo Case (29 minutes) Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Fourteenth Amendment (42 minutes) Video: One Person, One Vote: Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims (26 minutes) Video: Korematsu and Civil Liberties (27 minutes) Video: Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Company (23 minutes) Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor: The Importance of the Japanese Internment Cases (36 minutes) Video: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor: Brown v. Board of Education (26 minutes) Video: Yick Wo and the Equal Protection Clause (20 minutes) Video: Thurgood Handout: A Conversation on the Japanese Internment Cases © Copyright 2020 The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania

Articles and Working Papers

An assessment of New Jersey's proposed limited initiative process Craig B Holman, Ph.D. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF Are Coloradans Fit to Make Their Own Laws? A Common-Sense Primer on the Initiative Process by Dennis Polhill The Independence Institute

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF Are There Winners and Losers? Race, Ethnicity, and California's Initiative Process - Zoltan Hajnal and Hugh Louchhat


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF Citizens Initiatives Under Attack in Colorado - Paul Grant


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF Expanding Direct Democracy in the US: How Far is Too Far? Todd Donovan Department of Political Science Western Washington University



CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF FOR THE PEOPLE: DIRECT DEMOCRACY IN THE STATE CONSTITUTIONAL TRADITION G. Alan Tarr, Director, Center for State Constitutional Studies, Rutgers University


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF Global Passport to Modern Direct Demcoracy - designed to help you better understand your rights as an active citizen in the growing world of participatory and direct democracy. It offers some key information about how tools and processes of direct democracy work (and don’t work) as part of a modern representative democracy.  


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF. State Policy Activism via Direct Democracy in Response to Federal Partisan Polarization Kathleen Ferraiolo. Frustrated with the disconnect between public opinion and federal law, citizens in some states have approved initiatives that enact mostly liberal new gun control regulations. Meanwhile, supporters of marijuana legalization and minimum wage increases have relied on initiatives to compensate for lags in legislatures’ responses to evolving public support for these positions. Ballot measures regarding same-sex marriage and abortion policy have also been triggered in part by federal developments.Through case studies of these areas, I also document the broader implications of initiative politics for voter turnout and mobilization, candidate evaluations, and policy agendas.


Justifications and Citizen Competence in Direct Democracy: A Multilevel Analysis Céline Colombo (requires paid access) abastract avaliable The criticism that ordinary voters lack the necessary competence to make policy decisions persists despite the growth, popularity and implementation of direct democratic instruments throughout the democratic world. This article presents a novel measure of voters’ levels of justification as a possible, policy-specific, conceptualization of citizen competence in direct democracy

Research provided by our friends at FiscalNote. FiscalNote CQ Copyright 2020

Potential Ballot Measures in the States for 2020

When it comes to 2020, the presidential election might garner the most attention, but in multiple states there will also be other ballot measures for voters to decide upon. Read on to see the 100+ likely ones to top that list. As of mid-September, there were 28 proposed constitutional amendments approved to be on 2020 ballots in 14 states. Those included five in Alabama, four in Utah, and three each in Arkansas and California. By this time next year, there are likely to be three to four times as many. Sponsors of citizen-initiated petition efforts are working to meet deadlines to qualify their prospective measures for the ballot and state lawmakers will vote to place proposed constitutional amendments before voters during 2020 sessions. As of mid-September, there were more than 200 active petition efforts under way in 25 states, including 29 in Oregon, and more than 20 in Arizona, California, and Missouri. Below is a roundup of notable approved and prospective ballot measures voters could see on their Nov. 3, 2020 ballots.

ELECTION REFORM

Election reform measures are among the most common proposals that could be presented to voters with 32 measures in 16 states – four already approved, 28 petitioning signatures for qualification – addressing an array of issues. Nine prospective ballot proposals in six states address redistricting congressional and state legislature districts with Arkansas, Oregon, South Dakota, and Virginia voters potentially being asked to create “independent” redistricting commissions. Possible “proportional representation” proposals in Mississippi and Missouri would ask voters to require state legislative districts to have "substantially equal population" and to keep counties and municipalities from being divided into different districts. A proposed amendment that would incorporate in the state constitution the statement that “only a citizen” can vote has been approved for the Alabama ballot, and is vying to be presented to Colorado, Florida, and Maine voters. Oregon voters will see a measure asking them to require laws or ordinances limiting campaign contributions and expenditures, require disclosure of contributions and expenditures, and require that political advertisements identify the people or entities that paid for them. Voters could see campaign financing-related proposals in Arizona, Missouri, and Massachusetts, where a prospective measure would limit out-of-state campaign contributions. Four states – Alaska, California, Massachusetts, Missouri – could have “ranked-choice voting” measures, similar to the system adopted in Maine, on their 2020 ballots, while Floridians could see an “open primaries” proposal. There will be ballot measures in Missouri to restrict executive branch elected officials to two terms, and in Arkansas to impose six-year term limits on representatives and eight-year term limits on senators.

TAXES

Tax-related proposals include a measure on California’s 2020 ballot that would tax commercial and industrial properties based on market value and dedicate the revenue to education and local services. Illinois voters will see a proposal to enact a graduated income tax, which has been prohibited in the state since 1970. Arizona and Oregon voters may see measures seeking to eliminate property taxes on primary residential property of persons 65 years of age or older. Missouri initiatives would ask voters to prohibit all taxes on personal property, and approve a capital gains tax for solar and wind energy projects. A prospective proposal in Nebraska would provide an income tax credit of 35 percent for property taxes, replacing the federal tax credit that was eliminated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act [TCJA] of 2017. Oregon voters may see measures to raise the state’s corporate income tax and a proposed ’Corporate Activity Tax for Education Funding Referendum’ that would overturn provisions of the Student Success Act and levy a 0.57 percent tax on businesses with more than a $1 million in sales in the state. Also petitioning signatures for a place on Oregon’s 2020 ballot is a preemption bill that would prohibit local governments from levying sales taxes on items such as groceries, and a ‘Businesses Charged for Public Assistance to Employees Initiative’ that would charge businesses “an amount equal to public assistance provided to the employees of the business.” South Dakota may see a proposal to decrease tax rates from 4.5 to 4 percent from 2021 to 2025. Among a half-dozen measures Washingtonians could see are proposals to require tax increases to expire after one year unless approved by voters; to prohibit state or local sales tax rates from increasing “higher than the rates are on the effective date of the measure”; to prohibit the state's estate tax from being imposed on those who die on or after Dec. 3, 2020; and to create a capital gains tax to fund education.

MARIJUANA

There are at least 20 prospective ballot measures in nine states related to marijuana that could be on 2020 ballots, including: At least 13 prospective measures in eight states — three in Arizona, three in Florida, two in South Dakota, New Jersey, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska – that would ask voters to legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults could be on 2020 ballots. Most notable, and likely, is New Jersey, where state lawmakers opted not to vote on a bill to legalize recreational marijuana but to place the proposal before voters. Four states – Arkansas, Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota – may present voters with a 2020 ballot measure seeking to create medical marijuana programs while marijuana “expungement” initiatives could make the ballot in Arkansas and Missouri. A prospective Arizona measure seeks to legalize all drugs, while an Oregon ‘Psilocybin Program Initiative’ would reduce criminal penalties for possession and manufacture.

ENVIRONMENT

At least 10 possible ballot measures addressing environmental issues could be presented to voters in six states in 2020, including “carbon tax initiatives” in Oregon and Utah. The prospective measure in Oregon would direct the Legislature to create a carbon tax on large businesses while decreasing the state gas tax from 34 cents per gallon to 18 cents per gallon. Arizona voters could see measures that would impose restrictions of agricultural chemicals and a ban on fracking. Possible California ballot measures would create bonds for “Climate Resiliency Projects” and include hydroelectric energy generation with the state’s Renewable and Zero-Carbon Resource initiative. In Ohio, a prospective ballot measure would ask voters to overturn House Bill 6 and restore surcharges for nuclear and coal-generated energy and subsidies for solar energy. Missouri voters, meanwhile, could be asked to approve a capital gains tax for solar and wind energy projects. Oregon voters may also see a ‘Forest Waters Initiative,’ which would prohibit clear cut logging and limit aerial spraying of pesticides on forestland managed by the state.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Voters in Arkansas, Colorado, and Wyoming will be presented with ballot measures to fund infrastructure projects. The Arkansas proposal would raise the state’s sales tax by a half-cent for road projects, while the Colorado measure would authorize a $1.837 billion bond for roads. Wyoming’s Constitutional Amendment A would remove the constitutional limit on local indebtedness to build sewage systems.

ABORTION

Louisiana will see a proposed ’No Right to Abortion’ constitutional amendment on their 2020 ballot. Colorado voters may see a measure seeking to impose a 22-week abortion ban; Michigan voters could see a ‘Dismemberment Abortion Ban’ and a ‘Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban’”; Washington voters a measure to require physicians notify parents before performing abortions on minors In Vermont, the prospective Proposition 5 would incorporate “personal reproductive autonomy” as a state constitutional right.

MEDICAID

Voters in three states – Florida, Oklahoma, Missouri – could see proposals to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act on their 2020 ballots. In Florida, sponsors of a citizen-driven petition effort withdrew their proposal for possible placement on the 2022 ballot, but Sen. Annette Taddeo has pre-filed a bill asking legislators to put the proposed measure on the 2020 ballot. Missouri’s prospective Medicaid expansion measure also includes a provision to require state funding of Planned Parenthood if federal funding is discontinued. Washington voters may see a measure that creates the Whole Washington Health Trust, which would ensure all state residents can enroll in nonprofit health insurance coverage “providing an essential set of health benefits" funded through premiums, and taxes on employers, wages, and capital gains.

FIREARMS

At least nine prospective firearms-related measures could make the 2020 ballot in six states, including proposed “assault weapon” bans in Florida and Oregon, and a universal background check constitutional amendment in Ohio. Voters in Massachusetts and Oregon could be asked to approve measures imposing secure storage standards on gun-owners. As opposed to gun control measures, proponents are seeking to get measures that expand or confirm gun rights in three states. Permit-less open-carry proposals could be presented to voters in Oklahoma and Washington, while in Oregon, a measure to affirm the constitutional right to own a semiautomatic firearm is seeking space on the 2020 ballot, perhaps alongside the prospective “assault weapons” ban.

MINIMUM WAGE

Voters in two states could see proposed constitutional amendments seeking to raise their state’s minimum wage on the 2020 ballot – to $15 an hour in Florida by 2024, and to $12 an hour in Idaho by 2024. In Arizona, a prospective ballot measure would enact a minimum wage standard for hospital workers, while in Missouri voters could see a proposal to prohibit state preemption of local minimum wage ordinances.

SLAVERY BANS

Apparently slavery is not officially banned in all state statutes. And so, Nebraska and Utah voters will be asked to clean obsolete language from state statutes, specifically to remove slavery as a punishment for specific crimes.

About us

A national organization dedicated to the belief that citizens should be in charge of their government. One of the best tools that citizens have for enacting change is the initiative and referendum process. Our organization is made up of activists, legislators, financial supporters, opinion leaders, and most importantly — citizens — who come together to protect and defend this process where it exists, and extend it to where it does not. But no matter our background, we all recognize that additional checks on state legislatures are to be encouraged.

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