FROM OUR PRINTED SEPT. 1, 2023 EDITION
A Massive 54 Ballot Petitions Filed with Mass. Attorney General for November 2024/2026 Elections
by Ted Tripp
Broadside Sr. Political Reporter
Before the deadline of August 2nd, 54 ballot questions/initiative petitions were filed with the Mass. Attorney General’s Office for hopeful placement on the November 2024 (or 2026 if a constitutional amendment) ballot.
The submissions must be certified according to Article 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution. The AG’s Office has until September 6th to approve or reject the submissions. If approved, proponents of the initiative will have slightly less than three months to collect 74,574 certified signatures as so designated by town and city clerks. The last day raw signature sheets can be turned in to town and city clerks is November 22nd. The petition proponent must then take these certified signature sheets to the Secretary of State’s Office by December 6th.
If there are enough certified signatures, the ballot question then goes to the Legislature in January 2024. The Legislature can approve it, propose a substitute or take no action. Usually it takes no action. If no action is taken by May 1, 2024, a ballot question proponent must collect another 12,429 different signatures certified by local town and city clerks and file these by June 19th, then take them to the Secretary of State’s Office by July 3rd. If all these requirements are met, the subject of the question goes on the November 2024 statewide ballot unless it’s a constitutional amendment.
Ballot questions can be in a form to change or add to Massachusetts General Laws or change the state Constitution. In the latter case, there are additional hurdles to be met and the ballot question goes before the voters in November 2026.
Some of the earlier ballot questions submitted have all ready been certified or not certified by the AG’s office. We will not be covering those submissions not approved since they will not be going forward. You can view all of the ballot questions submitted at:
22-02, 03, 04 An Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to the Gas Tax
(Versions A, B, C)
These slightly different versions would either give the taxpayer a credit on their state income tax for gasoline/diesel taxes paid if the retail price of regular gasoline exceeds $3/gallon, or the state gasoline tax would be automatically suspended if the price exceeds $3/gal.
Contact: Harold Hubschman, firstname.lastname@example.org. All three versions certified by AG.
22-05 An Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to Zero Emission Vehicles, Zero Emission Home Heating Systems, and Home Solar Powered Electricity
This petition would provide tax credits or rebates up to $25,000 on the purchase of electric vehicles, the conversion of gas-powered vehicles to electric, and eligible home improvement systems such as high efficiency heat pumps, solar power systems, and energy storage systems. Contact: Harold Hubschman, email@example.com. Certified by AG.
22-12 Initiative Petition for a Constitutional Amendment
This constitutional amendment would amend the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights to declare that the people have a right of privacy that may not be infringed, absent a compelling governmental interest and that such interest may not be shown lightly or by needs of convenience or financial considerations. It would also limit data that utilities and others could collect about you. Contact: Kirstin Beatty, firstname.lastname@example.org, 413-536-3505. Certified by AG.
For all of the following petitions, certifications by the AG’s Office are pending.
23-01 Initiative Petition for a Law to Remove MCAS Performance as a Condition for High School Graduation
Removes the requirement for passing the 10th grade MCAS exam for high school graduation. Contact: Shelley E. Scruggs, email@example.com, 617-233-2779.
23-02, 03 Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to the
Gas Tax – Versions A, B
These are similar to 22-02, 03, 04 but with simpler language. Also, 23-02 drops the threshold of the average retail price of regular gasoline from $3/gal. to $2/gal. for the state gas tax to be suspended. Contact: Harold Hubschman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
23-04 Initiative Petition An Act to Establish a Non-Partisan Top Five Election System
This would bring ranked-choice voting to Massachusetts for U.S. senator, U.S. representative, governor, lieutenant governor, councillor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and state legislators. Ranked-choice voting has been a disaster everywhere it’s been tried. Part of the problem is that nobody voting understands it. Contact: John A. Griffin, John.email@example.com, 617-600-4047.
23-05 Initiative Petition for An Act Expanding Opportunities for Voter Registration
This is another petition for same day registration of voters who want to vote. Penalties for lying about your information could include 5 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine, or both. When was the last time you heard of anybody convicted in Mass. of a voting “irregularity”? Contact: John A. Griffin, John.firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-600-4047.
23-06 Initiative Petition for An Act Prohibiting Political Spending by Foreign-Influenced Entities
This would prevent most foreign and foreign-connected entities from making an independent expenditure, contributing to an independent expenditure PAC, a ballot question committee, or an expenditure to promote or oppose a charter change, referendum question, constitutional amendment or other question submitted to the voters. Contact: John A. Griffin, John.email@example.com, 617-600-4047.
23-07 Initiative Petition for An Act to Increase Voter Participation, Access, and Choice in Elections
Another version or 23-05 by Griffin.
23-08 Initiative Petition for An Act for Healthy Democracy
Even another version or 23-05 by Griffin.
23-09 Initiative Petition for Affirm our Constitutional Birthright to be a Person
This would enact the Nuremberg Code of 1947 into state law “to protect the rights of the individual over their own bodies and ensure informed consent for medical treatments and experiments which intrude a person’s body.” Contact: Eric M. Reed, Eriree12@gmail.com, 617-777-9728.
23-10 Initiative Petition for a Constitutional Amendment to Restore the Right to Vote
This would repeal Amendment CXX (120) of the Massachusetts Constitution which prohibited incarcerated felons from voting, thus allowing them to vote. How many do you think would vote Republican? Contact: Katie Talbot, firstname.lastname@example.org, 413-270-4694.
23-11 Initiative Petition for a Law to Make Participation in Elections More Accessible
Yet another same-day registration petition by a different proponent. Contact: Daniel Darris-O’Connor, email@example.com, 978-437-0728.
23-12 Initiative Petition for a Law Requiring the Full Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers with Tips on Top
This petition would require workers who commonly depend on tips in their employment to gradually over a 5-year period have their salaries increased to the state’s minimum wage. Any tips provided by patrons would be on top of this new minimum wage. Contact: Mana Javadi, firstname.lastname@example.org, 714-612-0701.
23-13, 14 Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to the Regulation and Taxation of Natural Psychedelic Substances (Versions A, B)
These 27- and 26-page petitions would set up commissions much like the state marijuana commission but to approve and regulate for use natural psychedelic substances (think magic mushrooms) for both medicinal and personal use. Contact: Danielle McCourt, email@example.com, 610-662-7030.
23-15 Initiative Petition for a Proposed Constitutional Amendment – Recall Elections for Statewide, Countywide, and Districtwide Elected Officers
This amends the Constitution by adding the concept of recall elections for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of the commonwealth, attorney general, treasurer, auditor, state senator, state representative, district attorney, sheriff, governor’s councillor, register of probate, register of deeds, clerk of courts, county commissioner, and county treasurer. Contact: Michael F. Dattoli, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-999-5333.
23-16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22,
23 Initiative Petition for a Law to Require Voter Identification in Massachusetts (Versions A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H)
These slightly different-worded petitions would require a government-issued picture ID at the time of voting. Contact: Joanne Miksis, Jmsis1234@gmail.com, 339-206-4034.
23-24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 A Law Establishing that App-Based Drivers are not Employees, and Network Companies are not Employers, for Purposes of the General and Special Laws (Versions A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I)
These slightly different versions continue the struggle by Uber and Lyft and others to put into law that their employees are not full time. Healey, when she was AG, had sued the companies to declare that their employees should be treated as full-time with all the benefits thereof. That suit is still slow motion winding its way through the courts. Contact: Brendan Joyce, email@example.com, 617-297-8167.
23-33 Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to Public Health Education
This would require expanding the requirement of teaching additional public health and epidemiology subjects in public schools.Contact: Aaron Kesselheim, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-278-0930.
23-34 Initiative Petition for a Law Expressly Authorizing the Auditor to Audit Legislature
This is something the Legislature has been resisting from Auditor Diana DiZoglio. It is a good idea. Contact: Doug Rubin, email@example.com, 508-380-8017.
23-35 Initiative Petition for An Act Giving Transportation Network Drivers the Option to Form a Union and Bargain Collectively
This petition would allow drivers from companies like Uber and Lyft to form a union and bargain with their employers for wages and benefits. Contact: Roxana Rivera, firstname.lastname@example.org, 401-965-3555.
23-36 A Law Requiring that Districts Certify that Students have Mastered the Skills, Competencies and Knowledge of the State Standards as a Replacement for the MCAS Graduation Requirement
Just another attempt to eliminate the passage of the 10th grade MCAS test as a requirement for high school graduation. The governing board of the Massachusetts Teachers Association has voted unanimously to support this ballot measure. Meanwhile, the Pioneer Institute, a local think tank specializing in education issues, has written to the AG’s office to show why this ballot question should not be certified. Contact: Mike Fadel, email@example.com, 617-878-8212.
23-37 Initiative Petition for a Constitutional Amendment Relative to Returning Democracy to the State Legislature by Preventing the Excessive Influence and Power of Leadership through Lack of Transparency and Financial Influence
If this becomes law (unlikely), bills and amendments cannot be voted on in bundles or as consolidated. I suppose this means the 1,200 or so budget amendments proposed each year by the House and Senate would have to be voted on one at a time. What fun that would be! Worth reading the entire text. Contact: Kirstin Beatty, firstname.lastname@example.org, 413-536-3505.
23-38 Initiative Petition for a Constitutional Amendment Relative to Funding Legislators to Prevent Financial Influence on Votes
This amendment would provide that all legislators receive the same salary and it shall not differ for reasons of leadership or seniority. In addition, each senator and each representative, respectively, must have the same number of staff. There are other goodies in here. Contact: Kirstin Beatty, email@example.com, 413-536-3505.
23-39, 40 Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to Radiation Limits for Technology and Wireless Facilities
(Versions A, B)
Both of these slightly different 42-page petitions would require Internet and personal wireless services providers and electronic product manufacturers to universally limit electromagnetic field exposures to the minimum required. Contact: Kirstin Beatty, firstname.lastname@example.org, 413-536-3505.
23-41 An Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to the Establishment of an Indigenous Peoples Day
This would officially replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day as a statewide holiday in October. Contact: Robert Stephens, Jr., Robertstephens2001@gmail.com, 774-322-0501
23-42 Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to Local Options for Tenant Protections
This would bring back rent control as an option for cities and towns as well as their ability to regulate residential evictions. The Pioneer Institute also objects to this petition and has submitted a legal brief to the AG’s Office on why it does not meet the requirements of Amendment 48 on Initiative Petitions. Contact: Mike Connolly, Mike.email@example.com, 857-236-1901.
Wow! While this might be a near record on the number of petitions submitted, don’t worry. Historically, only five or six or even fewer may make it to the November 2024 or 2026 ballot. Many will not pass the AG’s certification requirement and even fewer will be able to get the number of certified signatures in time for the deadlines.
The Broadside will follow up next month on which petitions can go forward with collecting signatures this fall. ♦