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State ballot questions to shape landscape on social issues, marijuana policy and more

 

Voters on Election Day 2012 are doing more than choosing the next president, or deciding the balance of power in Congress. Across the country, they'll be tasked with settling tricky -- and albeit, perennial -- questions on issues like marijuana, same-sex marriage, abortion and the death penalty.

But this year’s state ballots also include a few more surprising issues such as measures related to President Obama’s health care law, even after a Supreme Court ruling said it was constitutional.

A total of 38 states on Tuesday will consider 174 ballot measures, including 12 referendums, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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The following is a list of top ballot measure issues, the states in which voters will decide them and in some cases the likelihood of passage.

Health Care

Alabama - Amendment 6: Prohibits individuals and businesses from being compelled to participate in health care system.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes.

Florida – Constitutional Amendment 1: Prohibits individuals and businesses from being required to participate in health care system.

Approval threshold: At least 60 percent of measure votes.

Montana – Legislative Referendum No. 122: Prohibits individuals and businesses from being required to participate in health care system.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes.

Wyoming – Proposed Constitutional Amendment A: Declares that no person shall be required to participate in a health care system.

Approval threshold: Majority of the general electorate.

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Marijuana

Arkansas -- Issue No. 5: Permits medical use of marijuana.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (likely to fail).

Colorado -- Amendment 64: Legalizes and taxes marijuana.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (too close to call).

Massachusetts -- Question 3: Permits medical use of marijuana.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes and at least 30 percent of the voters who cast ballots (likely to pass.)

Montana -- Initiative Referendum No. 124: Asks voters to repeal state law (SB 423) that weakens a voter-approved initiative allowing medical use of marijuana.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes.

Oregon – State Measure 80: Legalizes possession and sale through state-licensed stores.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (likely to fail).

Washington -- Initiative Measure No. 502: Legalizes production, possession, distribution of marijuana.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (likely to pass).

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Taxes

Arizona -- Proposition 204: Makes permanent temporary sales tax increase from 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent expiring in 2013, dedicates revenue to education, mandates annual increases in education spending.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (likely to fail).

Arkansas -- Issue No.1: Levies 0.5 percent sales tax to fund $1.3 billion bond issue for roads.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (no recent polling).

California -- Proposition 30: Increases income taxes on wealthy, increases sales taxes, to fund schools. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s measure.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (likely to pass).

California -- Proposition 38: Increases income tax rates for 12 years to fund schools/early education.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (likely to fail).

Missouri – Proposition B: Increases tobacco taxes, dedicates revenue to health education.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (likely to pass).

Oklahoma -- State Question No. 758: Limits annual increase to 3 percent, now 5 percent.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes.

Oregon  -- State Measure 84: Eliminates estate/inheritance taxes.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes.

Same-Sex Marriage

(FOR)

Maine -- Question 1: Legalizes same-sex marriage, would overturn a 2009 initiative.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (likely to pass).

Maryland -- Question 6: Uphold the new law legalizing same-sex marriage.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (too close to call).

(AGAINST)

Minnesota -- Amendment 1: Defines marriage as solely between one man and one woman.

Approval threshold: Majority of Election Day voters, not just measure voters  (too close to call).

Washington -- Referendum Measure No. 74: Asks voters to repeal SB 6239 that legalized same-sex marriage.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (too close to call).

Death Penalty

California -- Proposition 34: Abolishes death penalty.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (too close to call).

Illegal Immigration

Maryland -- Question 4: Sometimes called the "Dream Act," would allow some illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (likely to pass).

Montana -- Legislative Referendum No. 121: Legislative statute denying state services to illegal immigrants.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes.

Abortion

Florida -- Constitutional Amendment 6: Prohibits use of public funds for abortion.

Approval threshold: At least 60 percent of measure votes (too close to call).

Collective Bargaining

Michigan -- Proposal 12-2: Establishes right to collective bargaining for public and private sector workers.

Approval threshold: Majority of measure votes (likely to fail).

Right to Die

Massachusetts -- Question 2: Would allow terminally ill patients to receive a lethal dose of drugs.