While you’ve likely heard about the election results in Virginia and New Jersey last week, voters also weighed in on referendums across the country.
Back in July, we previewed four prominent ballot initiatives from Ohio, Maine, Texas, and Louisiana. Today, we take a look at the results and see how their respective state government agencies will enforce the decisions made by popular vote.
Maine Casino or Slot Machines in York County Initiative
Summary of the Issue: This initiative would allow for the construction of slot machines or a casino in York County, Maine. The measure repeals Maine policy that any casino or slot machine facility not be operated within a 100-mile radius of another licensed facility. It also raises the number of slot machines permitted in Maine from 3,000 to 4,500.
Vote Results: 83% of Maine voters opposed the initiative.
What Happens Next: While offshore developer Shawn Scott spent millions of dollars to try to convince Maine voters to allow him to establish a new casino in York County, controversies and scandals around the campaign dissuaded voters from voting in his favor. His bid for a rerendum-approved casino failed, and York County will not get a new casino sponsored and developed by Scott.
Texas Definition of Professional Sports Team in Charitable Raffles Amendment, HJR 100 (2017)
Summary of the Issue: In 2015, the Texas legislature unanimously passed the Professional Sports Team Charitable Foundation Raffle Enabling Act, permitting certain professional sports teams’ charitable foundations to hold charity raffles at home games. Professional sports teams, as defined by the Act, only include major league sports. This proposed amendment is meant to expand the definition of sports team to include minor league teams, motorsports racing, and Professional Golf Association events. It would also allow the use of debit card as an acceptable form of payment for raffle tickets.
Vote Results: 61% of Texas voters permitted more pro sports teams to hold charity raffles.
What Happens Next: This approved proposition will allow minor league baseball, hockey, soccer and basketball teams (in addition to major league teams who already can) to hold charitable raffles during their home games. According to the Texas Statesman, the proposition would expand an amendment, approved by voters in 2015, that allowed professional sports teams to conduct charitable raffles. The definition of “professional sports team” has been effectively changed by this result to include minor league teams, motorsports racing and Professional Golf Association events.
Louisiana Dedicate New Taxes on Fuel to Transportation Construction Fund Amendment
Summary of the Issue: Louisiana, in an effort to address current issues of an underdeveloped and decaying urban infrastructure, proposed to implement new taxes on gasoline, diesel, and special fuels in order to generate revenue for the Transportation Trust Fund. This revenue would then be used to help with costs associated with construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, ports, airports, and public transit.
Vote Results: 53% of Louisiana voters approved this amendment.
What Happens Next: Although voters have consented to this amendment to enact new taxes on gasoline and fuel taxes, the Louisiana Legislature has refused to implement a new gas or fuel tax in recent years. This approved amendment is intended to ensure that any new gas and fuel tax revenue can only go towards transportation construction projects rather than wages and benefits for state employees. As previously stated, the Louisiana Legislature is still unlikely to act upon this ballot measure in accordance with their refusal to enact any new gas or fuel taxes.
Ohio Crime Victim Rights Initiative (2017)
Summary of the Issue: Though there are laws for crime victims’ rights in Ohio, many believe that these laws do not adequately ensure the victim’s safety, dignity and privacy. Therefore, a new amendment is being proposed: Marsy’s Law. Marsy’s Law is moving through many state throughout the country, with the aim to expand the constitutional rights of crime victims by altering rights to information, privacy, and fair treatment.
Vote Results: 82% of Ohio voters approved this amendment.
What Happens Next: While most of the proposed changes were already enacted in law in Ohio, this ballot measure has enshrined them in the state constitution. Advocates have claimed that the elevated legal status was necessary because the law has been inconsistently applied by prosecutors and judge across Ohio.
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By Mikala Cohen, BallotReady Intern