2008 Ballot Initiative Outcomes in Georgia and Other States

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(APN) ATLANTA — With numerous statewide initiatives on the ballot in Georgia and in other states on November 04, 2008, the following is a review of the outcomes of these initiatives:

In Georgia, voters considered three different constitutional amendments.

Voters approved one that will encourage preservation of Georgia’s forests through conservation property tax reductions.

Voters narrowly approved another amendment that will allow counties, municipalities, local boards of education to redirect tax funds from public schools to community redevelopment, via the Tax Allocation District program, which was intended to fund the Beltline project.

TADs were criticized by many concerned about the diversion of education dollars for development projects which displace poor people and decrease affordable housing.

 

The TADs had previously been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The intent of the constitutional amendment is so that the TADs will no longer be unconstitutional.

On a separate item, Georgians narrowly defeated the creation of special Infrastructure Development Districts for underserved areas.

Meanwhile, a number of issues, including abortion, marijuana, same-sex marriage, and the environment, were all on the table across the country on November 4. Here is a closer look at some key votes.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

In California, 52 percent of voters approved Proposition 8, which amends the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Approving this proposition nullifies the California State Supreme Court’s May 2008 decision that legalized same-sex marriage.

Stay tuned to Atlanta Progressive News for more about this controversial decision by California voters to revoke people’s rights, which is already facing legal challenges.

Voters in Arizona and Florida also voted to amend their constitutions to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Arkansas voters approved a measure that bans unmarried sexual partners from adopting children or serving as foster parents. The law applies to same sex and opposite sex partners.

ABORTION

California voters rejected a proposition that would have required a physician to notify the parent or legal guardian of a minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion involving that minor.

South Dakota failed to pass a measure that would have outlawed abortions in all cases except when the mother’s health or life is at risk or if rape or incest is involved, for pregnancies of less than 20 weeks.

In Colorado, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have defined a person to include “any human being from the moment of fertilization” failed overwhelmingly. The proposal would have essentially outlawed all abortions.

Michigan voters approved a measure that will amend the state constitution to permit human embryonic stem cell research with certain restrictions. Any embryos used for research must have been created for fertility research purposes, must have been discarded, and must not be used over two weeks after cell division begins.

ENVIRONMENT

California’s Propositions 7 and 10 would have provided a boost to the environment but voters rejected both by wide margins.

Proposition 7 would have required utilities to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2010. It would have raised the requirements to 40 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2025.

Proposition 10 would have provided $3.425 billion to consumers and others to purchase certain high fuel economy or alternative fuel vehicles, including natural gas, and to fund research into alternative fuel technologies.

Additionally, the measure would have provided $1.25 billion for research, development, and production of renewable energy technology and incentives for purchasing solar and renewable energy technology.

MARIJUANA

Voters in Massachusetts voted to remove the threat of arrest or jail for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana and replacing it with a $100 fine, which could be paid through the mail rather than getting lawyers and courts involved.

Michigan approved an initiative that will allow registered patients with certain debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana. Unregistered patients and primary caregivers will be allowed to provide medical reasons for using marijuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marijuana.

Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Hawaii County, Hawaii, both approved measures that would make adult marijuana possession laws the lowest priority for local law enforcement.

About the author:

Jonathan Springston is a Senior Staff Writer for The Atlanta Progressive News and is reachable is jonathan@atlantaprogressivenews.com

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