State Wins and Losses: Ballot Initiatives Roundup

By Jonathan Adams Nov 07, 2008

Immigration While immigration was all but ignored by both presidential candidates, voters in several states were presented with ballot measures on immigration enforcement and English-only requirements. In Oregon, an English-only initiative failed though one passed in Missouri. A harsh criminal justice proposition in California that included a provision on immigrants failed, as did an iffy proposition in Arizona. Wins Oregon Ballot Measure 58: Failed The measure would have limited English as a Second Language education in the state’s public schools to 2 years or less. California Proposition 6: Failed In addition a lengthy list of other draconian measures, Prop 6 would have included a provision denying bail to any undocumented immigrant charged in a gang related crime. The provision would have opened the door for a bolstering of collaboration between local criminal justice agencies and ICE. Losses Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1: Passed Amendment 1 passed with in a landslide. The amendment makes English the state’s official language. Neither Here Nor There Arizona Proposition 202: Failed Prop 202 would have been a mixed bag as it would have simultaneously loosened sanctions against those who employ undocumented immigrants while bolstering identity theft penalties against undocumented workers who use social security numbness that are not their own. LGBT Rights Wins Question 1 in Connecticut: Failed This initiative would have allowed the state constitution to be changed — essentially clearing the way for anti-gay and anti-choice amendments to be tacked onto it. Glad it didn’t pass. Losses Proposition 8 in California: Passed A state constitutional amendment to define marriage in California as "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." As of Wednesday, 5 November, it was passing roughly 52.5% to 47.5%. Amendment 2 in Florida: Passed The most punitive of the marriage amendments on the ballot this time. It specifically states: "This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized." Proposition 102 in Arizona: Passed Amends the Arizona State Constitution to define marriage between one man and one woman. Passed with 56.5% of the vote. Act 1 in Arkansas: Passed. Now gay couples are unable to adopt or foster-parent children. This from a state with 3700 children in the foster-care system, and only 1000 foster homes. (side note: This bill, which was targeted at gay couples, will now also prohibit single parents, relatives and even single parents who are the biological parents of their children, and people who are equipped to raise special-needs kids from adopting.) Reproductive Justice Wins Proposed Amendment 48 in Colorado: Failed 73% of Colorado citizens saw this amendment for what it was and voted against granting fertilized eggs full legal rights. This measure was designed to criminalize abortion and outlaw contraception. This measure also could have been used to block stem cell research and in vitro fertilization, among other reproductive health services. Measure 11 in South Dakota: Failed For the second time, South Dakota voters rejected a ban on abortion by 55 to 45 percent, finding inadequate its narrow exceptions for cases of rape, incest or threats to the mother’s health or life. This ballot initiative would have forced women in South Dakota to carry pregnancies to term against their will at the risk of their physical and psychological health. Proposition 4 in California: Failed California voters, for the third time, defeated an initiative that would have required teens either to inform their parents before having an abortion or would have charged the abortion-seeking teen’s parent with abuse. Affirmative Action Wins Amendment 46 in Colorado: Failed Colorado rejected a ballot initiative that would have amended their state constitution to ban equal opportunity initiatives in the higher education, employment, and contracting. Losses Initiative 424 in Nebraska: Passed Voters passed the anti-equal opportunity initiative 52-48%