2016 Ballot Initiatives

On Election Day, voters in many states will select more than just the candidates who represent them. Ballot initiatives and state referenda allow citizens to vote directly on legislation — including policies that could be helpful to women and families and could advance or undermine the goals of AAUW’s Public Policy Program.

Below you will find the names and summaries of 2016 ballot measures whose adoption would affect women and their families. Ballot initiatives can be confusing and even manipulative, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to help you make informed decisions based on AAUW’s mission of advancing equity for women and girls.

Search by State: Alaska | Arizona | California | Colorado | Maine | Missouri | Washington

 

Alaska

Ballot Measure 1: An act allowing qualified individuals to register to vote when applying for a permanent fund dividend

Summary: Adoption of Ballot Measure 1 would enable qualified Alaskans applying for a Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) to register to vote, allow registered voters to update their home addresses, and enable voters to opt out if they prefer to register by mail. Alaska currently requires PFD applicants to register to vote or update their voter registration using a separate form. The Permanent Fund Dividend consists of a portion of the state’s oil revenue, and a PFD is paid to anyone who has been a resident of Alaska for a full year and intends to remain in the state indefinitely. Roughly 70,000 Alaskans who are eligible for the PFD are not registered to vote.

Yes checkboxAAUW recommends voting YES on Alaska Ballot Measure 1.

AAUW’s 2015–17 Public Policy Program advocates for the vigorous enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including voting rights. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder has left voting rights under attack, and in many states it has become more difficult for Americans to exercise their right to vote. AAUW supports the protection and expansion of voting rights and opposes any efforts to reduce access to the ballot box.

 

Arizona

Proposition 206: Relating to Arizona’s minimum wage and earned paid sick time benefits

Summary: Adoption of Proposition 206 would increase the minimum wage in Arizona incrementally from $8.05 per hour in 2016 to $12 per hour by 2020. Proposition 206 would also entitle employees to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, with limits based upon the size of the employer. Proposition 206 broadly defines the conditions under which paid sick time may be taken, including mental or physical illness; care of a family member; a public health emergency; absence due to domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse, or stalking; and prohibits various forms of retaliation against employees for exercising any rights under the law.

Yes checkboxAAUW and AAUW of Arizona recommend voting YES on
Arizona Proposition 206.

AAUW is committed to promoting the economic, social, and physical well-being of all persons. AAUW has long supported flexible workplace policies to address the family responsibilities of employees. Offering workers the option of taking time off when they or a family member are sick is not just good for women and families, it’s good for business. Without sick days, employees often come to work ill, which can decrease productivity and infect co-workers. AAUW’s member-adopted 2015–17 Public Policy Program also calls for a “living wage” and “reduction of poverty.” AAUW believes raising the minimum wage is an important step toward closing the gender pay gap and increasing the economic security of working women and their families.

 

California

Find information on California Amendments 51, 52, 53, 55, and 58 from AAUW of California.

 

Colorado

Amendment 70: Colorado $12 minimum wage amendment

Summary: Amendment 70 would amend the Colorado constitution to increase the minimum wage to $9.30 per hour with annual increases of $0.90 each January 1 until the minimum wage is $12 per hour (January 2020) and annually adjusting it thereafter for cost-of-living increases. The current minimum wage in the state of Colorado is $8.31 per hour.

Yes checkboxAAUW and AAUW of Colorado recommend voting YES on
Colorado Amendment 70.

AAUW’s 2015–17 Public Policy Program advocates for a reduction of poverty and for a livable wage. Women make up two-thirds of minimum-wage workers nationwide, and raising the minimum wage is an important part of ensuring their economic security and that of their families. Increasing the minimum wage has also been shown to help shrink the persistent gender pay gap.

AAUW of Colorado also recommends voting YES on Amendment T and Amendment 71. Learn more on their website.

 

Maine

Question 2: Maine tax on incomes exceeding $200,000 for public education

Summary: Adoption of Question 2 would increase state funding for public education for grades K–12 by creating a 3 percent surcharge on households with incomes greater than $200,000, after all deductions. Question 2 requires funding from the surcharge be used for direct classroom instruction, including teachers, school nurses, and other critical public school personnel.

Yes checkboxAAUW and AAUW of Maine recommend voting YES on Maine Question 2.

AAUW supports a strong system of public education that promotes gender fairness, equity, and diversity. In our 2015–17 Public Policy Program Biennial Action Priorities, AAUW advocates for “adequate and equitable funding for quality public education for all students.” AAUW opposes the use of public funds for nonpublic elementary and secondary education and to charter schools that do not adhere to the same civil rights and accountability standards as required of other public schools.

Question 4: Maine minimum wage increase

Summary: Adoption of Question 4 would raise the minimum wage in Maine to $9 per hour in 2017 and by $1 per hour each year after, until it is $12 per hour in 2020. The minimum wage then increases at the same rate as the cost of living. In addition, Question 4 increases the minimum wage for workers who receive tips to $5 per hour in 2017 and then by $1 per hour each year until it is equal to the general minimum wage, with a deadline of 2024.

Yes checkboxAAUW recommends voting YES on Maine Question 4.

AAUW’s 2015–17 Public Policy Program advocates for a reduction of poverty and for a livable wage. Women make up two-thirds of minimum-wage workers nationwide, and raising the minimum wage is an important part of ensuring their economic security and that of their families. Increasing the minimum wage has also been shown to help shrink the persistent gender pay gap.

 

Missouri

Constitutional Amendment 3: Missouri 60-cent cigarette tax

Summary: Amendment 3 would increase the cigarette tax in Missouri in 15-cent annual increments to $0.77 by 2020. In addition to the cigarette tax, the measure would also impose a fee on wholesalers of $0.67 per pack on cigarettes produced by a “nonparticipating manufacturer,” as defined by the state of Missouri. At least 75 percent of the revenue generated from these taxes would be devoted to increasing access to early childhood education programs. Around 10 percent of the funds would go toward grants for Missouri health care facilities. And approximately 5 percent would be devoted to smoking-prevention programs.

No checkboxAAUW and AAUW of Missouri recommend voting NO on
Missouri Amendment 3.

While claiming to address children’s education and health, Amendment 3 includes several problematic provisions. Among them is an exemption from Missouri’s prohibition of public aid for religious purposes and institutions, thereby weakening public education and potentially opening the door to school vouchers. AAUW’s 2015–17 Public Policy Program voices opposition to the use of public funds for “nonpublic elementary and secondary education and to charter schools that do not adhere to the same civil rights and accountability standards as required of other public schools.” Money raised from the tax implemented by Amendment 3 could be used to fund private and religious schools, institutions that are not bound by Title IX, the federal law banning sex discrimination in federally funded education programs, and other civil rights and accountability standards.

Constitutional Amendment 6: Missouri voter-ID requirement

Summary: Adoption of Amendment 6 would amend the Missouri Constitution to require voters to produce a state-issued photo ID in order to vote.

No checkboxAAUW and AAUW of Maine recommend voting NO on
Missouri Amendment 6.

Voter-ID laws are written and passed on the premise that voter fraud is a widespread problem, but research shows it isn’t. These laws don’t demonstrably protect against fraud and certainly don’t provide the legal basis for significant prosecution of fraudulent voters. They do, however, have the potential to disenfranchise many voters. This type of suppression tactic would disproportionally affect eligible voters who are less likely to possess a current driver’s license, like students, women, the elderly, low-income individuals, and people of color. AAUW’s 2015–17 Public Policy Program advocates for the vigorous enforcement of and full access to civil and constitutional rights, including voting rights, and opposes any efforts to reduce access to the ballot box.

 

Washington

Washington Initiative 1433: Washington minimum wage increase and employer requirement to provide earned sick leave

Summary: Initiative 1433 would increase the state’s minimum wage to $13.50 by January 1, 2020. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be tacked to increases in the cost of living. Washington’s minimum wage is currently $9.47 per hour. The measure would also require employers to provide employees with paid sick leave beginning in 2018. Employees would be able to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, which they could use in certain circumstances, including to care for family members.

Yes checkboxAAUW recommends voting YES on Initiative 1433.

AAUW is committed to promoting the economic, social, and physical well-being of all persons. AAUW has long supported flexible workplace policies to address the family responsibilities of employees. Offering workers the option of taking time off when they or a family member are sick is not just good for women and families; it’s good for business. Without sick days, employees often come to work ill, which can decrease productivity and infect co-workers. AAUW’s member-adopted 2015–17 Public Policy Program also calls for a “living wage” and “reduction of poverty.” AAUW believes raising the minimum wage is an important step toward closing the gender pay gap and increasing the economic security of working women and their families.

 

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