Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey clears 17 voting initiatives for signature collection – Ballotpedia News
On September 1, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) announced that 17 of the 30 voting initiatives filed had been cleared for signature collection. The 17 initiatives included 16 state laws initiated targeting the 2022 poll and one constitutional amendment initiated that would appear on the 2024 poll.
The initiatives authorized for the collection of signatures are aimed at:
- Alcohol Retail License Amendments,
- Remuneration of general managers of hospitals,
- Hospital operating margin limits,
- Classification of driver employment based on an application,
- Identification of the voter,
- Hate crimes against first responders,
- Retail sale of fireworks,
- Safe fishing equipment for whales and sea turtles,
- Gasoline supply,
- Sale of alcoholic drinks at reduced prices,
- Corporate tax declarations,
- Right to a lawyer in eviction proceedings,
- Tax credits for individuals who purchase zero emission vehicles, home heating systems and solar home electricity, and
- Voting by correspondence without excuse.
Supporters of initiatives that have not been allowed to collect signatures can appeal the Attorney General’s decision to the Supreme Court of Justice. To determine which initiatives to clear for circulation, the Attorney General examines whether the initiative meets constitutional requirements, such as a single subject rule, subject restrictions, format requirements, and a ban on repeating a measure. decided by voters in either of the previous two statewide elections.
In Massachusetts, the number of signatures required to qualify indirectly initiated state status for the ballot is 3.5 percent of the votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election. No more than a quarter of the signatures verified on a petition can come from a single county. The process of passing state laws in Massachusetts is indirect, which means the legislature has the flexibility to approve initiatives for which enough signatures are collected without the measure returning to voters. In Massachusetts, signatures for State Insider Statutes are collected in two rounds.
For the 2022 ballot, the first round is 80,239 signatures (3% of the votes cast for the governor). If the petitioners meet the requirement of the first round, the initiative passes to the legislator. The second round is equal to 13,374 signatures (0.5% of the votes cast for the governor. It is necessary to put the measure on the ballot if the legislature rejects or refuses to act on a bill initiated.
The deadline for submitting the first round of signatures to the Secretary of State is December 1, 2021. Before submitting the signatures to the Secretary of State, the signatures must be submitted to the local clerks by November 17, 2021. If the legislature does not pass the bill before May 4, 2022, petitioners then have until July 6, 2022 (eight weeks) to request additional petition forms and submit the second round of signatures.
The proposed constitutional amendments have only one round of collecting signatures with the same requirements and deadlines as the first round for the statutes. If enough signatures are submitted by the deadline, the initiative goes to the legislature, where 25 percent of all lawmakers, with Senators and Representatives voting jointly, must approve the amendment in two successive sessions. If this requirement is met, the initiative goes on the ballot in the next general election. Because of this unique requirement, the earliest a constitutional amendment initiated can reach the ballot is two years after submission of the signature.
Between 1996 and 2020, an average of three metrics appeared on the Massachusetts ballot in even election years. About 54% (22 of 41) of the total number of measures appearing on statewide ballots were approved and about 46% (19 of 41) were rejected.