Casinos, Pot, Secession, More on US Ballots

Tuesday, 05 Nov 2013 05:44 PM

 

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Voters across the country face ballot measures Tuesday ranging from whether to approve seven casinos in New York to the fate of Houston's iconic Astrodome. Here's a look at some of the ballot questions.

MARIJUANA AND ALCOHOL

COLORADO: Voters will be asked to approve a 25 percent tax on newly legal recreational marijuana to fund school construction. Opponents argue the tax rate would benefit black-market sales.

MAINE: Voters in Portland, Maine's largest city, will decide whether to legalize possession of recreational amounts of marijuana.

MICHIGAN: Voters in Ferndale, Jackson, and Lansing have a chance to give some legal protection to users of small amounts of marijuana.

UTAH: Residents in the small town of Hyde Park are voting on whether to allow beer sales in a proposal that has divided the conservative, mostly Mormon city. Hyde Park is among a handful of dry cities left in the state, and the ordinance would allow the sale of beer with an alcohol content of no more than 3.2 percent.

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SECESSION

COLORADO: Voters in 11 largely rural counties are deciding on a mostly symbolic effort to form a 51st state called North Colorado because of what supporters call a disconnect with urban areas. The Legislature and Congress would have to approve the creation of a new state, something considered unlikely.

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GAMBLING

MASSACHUSETTS: Two casino proposals are facing key votes. Residents of the East Boston neighborhood and the City of Revere will decide whether to allow Suffolk Downs to go forward with its bid for a $1 billion casino at the 78-year-old thoroughbred race track. Voters in Palmer will decide on a casino proposed by Mohegan Sun.

NEW YORK: New Yorkers will decide whether to authorize seven casinos in a hotly contested referendum that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has bet on heavily to help revive the economy and provide tax revenue for schools. Opposing the measure is an unusual mix of conservatives, religious leaders, liberal good-government groups and newspaper editorials. They say the toll on families and communities is too high.

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ASTRODOME'S FUTURE

TEXAS: Voters in Houston will decide whether to save or raze the iconic but shuttered Houston Astrodome. A referendum would authorize up to $217 million in bonds to turn the stadium into a giant convention and event center. If the measure fails, Houston-area leaders say the Astrodome will probably be torn down.

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MINIMUM WAGE

WASHINGTON STATE: Voters in the small Seattle suburb of SeaTac are deciding whether workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and nearby large hotels should be paid a $15-an-hour minimum wage and obtain a handful of sick days. Washington state already has the highest minimum wage at $9.19.

NEW JERSEY: A constitutional amendment would raise the state's minimum wage by $1, to $8.25 an hour, and also provide for automatic cost-of-living adjustments. The $8.25-an-hour rate would take effect Jan. 1, and the cost-of-living adjustments would take place each Sept. 1.
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HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT

MAINE: Residents of South Portland will vote on whether to ban the flow of tar sands oil from western Canada to the city. Environmentalists say the thick, gooey oil is more difficult to clean up than conventional crude oil, contains harmful chemicals, and releases more greenhouse gases. Supporters of a pipeline say a ban would hamper the growth of existing petroleum-based businesses.

WASHINGTON STATE: The campaigning for and against a referendum that would require labels on genetically engineered food has shaped up to be one of the costliest in state history. The Grocery Manufacturers Association and five major corporations have spent about $20 million to cut into strong support for the measure, while food-labeling supporters have raised $7.8 million.

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GAY RIGHTS

MICHIGAN: Residents of the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak are voting on a human rights ordinance that would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation and a number of other factors.

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SCHOOL FUNDING

COLORADO: A kindergarten-through-12th-grade school-finance overhaul would increase income taxes about $1 billion a year and revive a progressive income tax structure abandoned in the 1980s.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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