November 8, 2016 Ballot Questions

 

Question 1:  (Citizen Initiative) Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?

Description:  This citizen initiative authorizes the cultivation, processing, manufacture, and retail sale and distribution of marijuana.  The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) is designated as the state agency to administer, oversee and regulate the marijuana legalization system.  The initiative establishes the legality of any person 21 years of age or older to purchase, use, possess or transport up to 2.5 ounces of prepared marijuana, and to cultivate up to 6 flowering plants of marijuana for personal use.  The initiative imposes a sales tax of 10% on the value of the retail sale of marijuana and marijuana products.

In its details, the initiative provides the licensing qualifications, licensing fees and the system of licensure for the five types of marijuana establishments:

-marijuana cultivation facility,

-retail marijuana testing 

  facility,

-retail marijuana products 

  manufacturing facility,

-retail marijuana store, and

-retail marijuana social club.

Question 2:  (Citizen Initiative) Do you want to add a 3% tax on individual Maine taxable income above $200,000 to create a state fund that would provide direct support for student learning in kindergarten through 12th grade public education?

Description:  This citizen initiative establishes the Fund to Advance Public Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education.  The Fund is capitalized with the imposition of a 3% income tax rate surcharge on the value of taxable income of $200,000 or more.  The initiative directs the revenue to be used to “supplement rather than supplant” any legislative school subsidy appropriations in order to meet the state's obligation to pay for 55% of the cost of K-12 public education.  The initiative further stipulates the dedicated revenues be used solely for the support of student learning and not for school administrative costs.

Question 3:  (Citizen Initiative) Do you want to require background checks prior to the sale or transfer of firearms between individuals not licensed as firearms dealers, with failure to do so punishable by law, and with some exceptions for family members, hunting, self-defense, lawful competitions, and shooting range activity.

Description:  The initiative requires a background check with regard to the person purchasing or receiving a firearm when neither the seller (“transferor”) nor the buyer (“transferee”) is a licensed firearm dealer.  To comply with the law in those circumstances, the transferor and transferee must meet with a licensed firearm dealer for the purpose of conducting the background check before the sale or transfer can be completed.  The licensed firearm dealer is allowed to charge a fee for that service.  Exceptions to the mandatory background check are provided in the bill for transfers between family members; while the parties are hunting, trapping or sport shooting, when necessary for emergency self-defense; and in the presence of the transferor.

Question 4:  (Citizen Initiative) Do you want to raise the minimum hourly wage of $7.50 to $9.00 in 2017, with annual $1 increases up to $12 in 2020, and annual cost-of-living increases thereafter; and do you want to raise the direct wage for service workers who receive tips from half the minimum wage to $5 in 2017, with annual $1 increase until it reaches the adjusted minimum wage?

Description:  This initiative raises the $7.50 minimum wage in the state to $9 per hour in 2017 and an additional $1 per hour each year after that until the year 2020, when the minimum wage would be $12 per hour.  Beginning on January 1, 2021, the minimum wage would be adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index.

Question 5:  (Citizen Initiative) Do you want to allow votes to rank their choices of candidates in elections for U.S. Senate, Congress, Governor, State Senate, and State Representative, and to have ballots counted at the state level in multiple rounds in which last-place candidates are eliminated until a candidate wins by majority?

Description:  This initiative establishes the “ranked choice” voting procedures for the election of Maine's U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives to Congress, Governor, State Senators and State Representatives.  The new voting procedures would begin with those elections in 2018 and thereafter, including any primary elections for those offices.  The fundamental purpose of ranked choice voting is to process elections where three or more candidates are running for a single office in a way that results in the winning candidate achieving a level of vote support exceeding 50%.  

Instead of being instructed to just vote for the single favored candidate as is currently the case, voters in ranked choice voting elections would be instructed to sequentially rank their voting preferences for all candidates on the ballot (including not more than one potential write-in candidate) with the designation of 1 for the most preferred candidate, 2 for the next most preferred candidate, and so on.  Under the ranked choice voting procedures, the ballots would be processed in sequential rounds until one candidate has reached the point of majority voter support.  If that level of voter support is not achieved in the first round of tabulations, the candidate on the ballot with the least voter support is excluded and the votes on those ballots for the candidate of second preference are counted as first preference votes and the totals are re-tallied.  If the second round tally still fails to produce a candidate with majority support, the process is repeated until a candidate with majority support is elected.  Ballots that provide the same level of support for two or more candidates and ballots that have skips in the sequence of ranked support are excluded from the tallying process at the point the “overvoting” or skipped sequencing are encountered.

Question 6: Bond Issue Do you favor a $100,000,000 bond issue for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges for for facilities, equipment and property acquisition related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds?

Description:  This questions is a proposed $100 million bond issue for transportation purposes. $80 million of the bond revenue is dedicated to the construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Priority 31, #2, and #3 state highways, the municipal partnership initiative and to replace and rehabilitate bridges.  $20 million is dedicated to capital improvements to ports, harbors, marine transportation, aviation, freight and passenger railroads, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian trails.  The bond proceeds are estimate to leverage $137 million in federal and other funds.

NOTE:  Question descriptions were provided by the Maine Municipal Association.

(Marianne Moore is the Republican candidate for the Maine State House District 140 seat)