Monday, October 24, 2016

VOTE!





While most of the political news in your social media feed and in news broadcasts may revolve around the upcoming presidential election, there is so much more at stake...and we have run the risk of neglecting that.

So many of us have become disenchanted with the process that, in some areas, the risk of low voter turnout has become very real.

Regardless of how you feel about our current offerings of presidential candidates, it is important to remember that this election is about so much more. Below we have listed some of the state items that relate to our mission and viewpoints. (Direct education issues are in bold print.)

Alabama:
  • Amendment 8 would create right-to-work language in the state constitution

Arizona:
  • Proposition 206 will raise the minimum wage

California:
  • Proposition 51 allows the state issuing $9 billion in bonds to fund improvement and construction of school facilities for K-12 schools and community colleges.
  • Proposition 58 will allow non-English languages to be used in public educational instruction.
  • Proposition 55 renews the income tax on the super wealthy in order to fund education.
     

Colorado:
  • Amendment T would remove part of the Colorado Constitution that allows forced, unpaid labor by convicted criminals
  • Amendment 70 will increase minimum wage

Georgia:
  • Amendment 1 would authorize the state to form an Opportunity School District that would govern certain elementary and secondary schools determined to be "chronically failing."
  • Amendment 2 would provide penalties for court cases involving certain sex crimes in order to allocate the generated revenue for the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund.

Hawaii:
  • Amendment 2 would add bond and pension payments as alternative dispositions of excess general fund revenues.

Louisiana:
  • Amendment 2 would allow college boards to establish tuition and fee amounts for their respective institutions without legislative approval.

Maine: adding a section to the Montana Constitution that would give crime victims specific rights to ensure their interests are respected and protected under the law.
  • Question 2 would approve an additional 3 percent surcharge on the portion of any household income exceeding $200,000 per year. Revenue would be earmarked to fund public education.
  • Question 4 would increase minimum wage.

Massachusetts
  • Question 2 would raise the cap on charters schools and authorize the approval of up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education per year.

Montana
  • CI-116 would add a section to the Montana Constitution that would give crime victims specific rights to ensure their interests are respected and protected under the law.

Nevada:
  • Question 2 would allow adults aged 21 or older to possess, consume, and cultivate some marijuana for recreational purposes. The initiative would create a new 15 percent excise tax, with revenue from the tax being spent on enforcing the measure and schools.

New Jersey:
  • Public Question 1 would allow the state legislature to pass laws allowing for two additional northern counties to each have one new casino.
  • Public Question 2 is a proposal to dedicate all revenue from gas taxes to transportation projects.
  • *Special note - Atlantic City has a local ballot issue that would allow school vouchers and tax credit for home-school families. Linwood has a ballot vote to change the current appointed school board to an elected school board model.

New Mexico:
  • Bond Question B would issue no more than $10,167,000 in general obligation bonds for academic, public school, tribal, and public library resource acquisitions.
  • Bond Question C would issue no more than $142,356,000 in general obligation bonds for higher education, special schools, and tribal schools capital improvements and acquisitions.

North Carolina:
  • Public Improvement Bond would issue $2 billion in bonds for economic development and infrastructure projects in 76 counties - including $980,000,000 in funding for various building renovations and construction at several University of North Carolina universities and $350,000,000 in funding for construction, repairs and renovations at various North Carolina community colleges

North Dakota:
  • Constitutional Measure 2 would authorize the legislature to allocate excess revenues from oil extraction taxes from the foundation aid stabilization fund for education purposes.
  • Constitutional Measure 3 would incorporate existing state statutes related to crime victims' rights into the state constitution.

Oregon:
  • Measure 97 would tax the largest corporations with $25 million or over in Oregon sales to fund schools, health care, and elder services.
  • Measure 99 would create an "Outdoor School Education Fund," sourced from state lottery proceeds, to fund outdoor school programs for all Oregon students.

Rhode Island:
  • Question 4 will approve issuing $45,500,000 in general obligation bonds to invest in higher education related projects.
  • Question 7 will approve issuing $50,000,000 in general obligation bonds to fund affordable housing and urban revitalization.

South Dakota
  • Constitutional Amendment R would allow the South Dakota Legislature to determine a separate entity, board or procedure to run technical schools and preventing the South Dakota Board of Regents from running such schools.
  • Constitutional Amendment S would expand the rights of crime victims.

Utah:
  • Amendment B would modify certain provisions and language relating to distribution, investment, and expenditure for the State School Fund and the Uniform School Fund.

Virginia
  • Right to Work Amendment would add a section to the constitution that would make it illegal for workplaces to require mandatory labor union membership for employees as a condition for employment, making it nearly impossible for future legislators to change current right to work laws.

Washington:
  • Initiative 735 would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment that reserves constitutional rights for people and not corporations.
  • Initiative 1433 would raise the minimum wage.

While these are not all of the state ballot initiatives that are up for your consideration this year, these are ones that stood out to us. We urge you to research these issues and decide your vote before going to the polls. For a more comprehensive look at what issues you will need to decide upon, visit Ballotpedia at https://ballotpedia.org/Main_Page and get ready to VOTE!

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