Ballot Q#1 Expanded Slot-Machine Gaming; (Direct Quotes (reformatted) from pp 4-5 of “Information for Voters” (red booklet.)This proposed law would allow the state Gaming Commission to issue one additional category 2 license, which would permit operation of a gaming establishment with no table games and not more than 1,250 slot machines. The proposed law would authorize the Commission to request applications for the additional license to be granted to a gaming establishment located on property that is (i) at least four acres in size; (ii) adjacent to and within 1,500 feet of a race track, including the track’s additional facilities, such as the track, grounds, paddocks, barns, auditorium, amphitheatre, and bleachers; (iii) where a horse racing meeting may physically be held; (iv) where a horse racing meeting shall have been hosted; and (v) not separated from the race track by a highway or railway.
IN FAVOR: Voting YES allows one additional slots parlor in Massachusetts, providing millions of dollars to Massachusetts communities and creating thousands of jobs. In 2013 alone, Massachusetts residents who played at neighboring state gaming facilities gave those states over $240 Million that could have stayed in Massachusetts. Under the Gaming Law, nearly half the revenue collected benefits all Massachusetts residents. Over the past year, the existing slots parlor contributed over $60 million for Massachusetts communities, plus additional funds paid to the host-community. (The Gaming Law ensures that a slots parlor will only be licensed in a community that votes for it.) About $1 of every $5 collected goes to our State’s horse racing industry, sustaining jobs at racetracks and breeding farms. A second slots parlor, together with the existing parlor, will assure that the long tradition of horse racing in Massachusetts survives while bringing thousands of new jobs to Massachusetts. Authored by: Eugene McCain; Horse Racing Jobs and Education Committee; 353 Broadway ; Revere, MA 02151; 978-972-8156; http://www.Massachusettsquestion1.com
AGAINST: Legalized casino gambling in the Commonwealth is too new and unproven to expand at this time. • Only one slot parlor has opened in Massachusetts, and it is significantly underperforming. • Five casinos are expected to open in Massachusetts by 2019. The Wall Street Journal warns that New England already has more casinos than the market wants or needs. • This ballot question was written by one casino developer, for one purpose: his own financial gain. It disrupts the process and limits established by the Legislature to protect communities and existing businesses. • Proponents of the ‘Act Relative to Gaming’ have traveled across the globe to exploit the Commonwealth and send a message to other casino developers – they can come to Massachusetts and do the same. Vote “No” to postpone the question of gambling expansion until a review of the costs and benefits of existing Massachusetts gaming establishments is completed. Authored by: Celeste Ribeiro Myers; Chair, Committee for Responsible and Sustainable Economic Development; 256 Marginal St; Boston, MA 02128; MaCasinos.net
Ballot Q#2 – Charter School Expansion (Direct Quotes (reformatted) from pp 6-7 of the red booklet “Information for Voters”.) This proposed law would allow the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to approve up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools each year. Approvals under this law could expand statewide charter school enrollment by up to 1% of the total statewide public school enrollment each year. New charters and enrollment expansions approved under this law would be exempt from existing limits on the number of charter schools, the number of students enrolled in them, and the amount of local school districts’ spending allocated to them. If the Board received more than 12 applications in a single year from qualified applicants, then the proposed law would require it to give priority to proposed charter schools or enrollment expansions in districts where student performance on statewide assessments is in the bottom 25% of all districts in the previous two years and where demonstrated parent demand for additional public school options is greatest. New charter schools and enrollment expansions approved under this proposed law would be subject to the same approval standards as other charter schools, and to recruitment, retention, and multilingual outreach requirements that currently apply to some charter schools. Schools authorized under this law would be subject to annual performance reviews according to standards established by the Board. The proposed law would take effect on January 1, 2017.
IN FAVOR: A YES vote on Question 2 gives parents the right to choose the best public schools for their children.Charter schools are PUBLIC schools open to all children. They offer longer school days and more individual attention, and have a proven record of closing the achievement gap for kids trapped in failing school districts. Today, almost 33,000 children are stuck on waiting lists for public charter schools because of the legislature’s arbitrary cap on enrollment. Voting YES would give more children the opportunity to attend these great public schools — especially in the state’s lowest-performing school districts. Voting YES does not harm local school districts. Cities and towns with new public charter schools will receive MORE state education aid if Question 2 passes. Charter growth would happen gradually; new public charter schools must be approved by the State Board of Education and are subject to rigorous and frequent performance reviews. Authored by: AnnMarie O’Connor Little; Great Schools Massachusetts; 67 Kemble St. Suite 2.1; Roxbury, MA, 02119; 617-439-7775; greatschoolsma.org
AGAINST: Every time a new charter school opens or expands, it takes funding away from the public schools in that district. This year alone, charter schools will take more than $400 million from already-underfunded Massachusetts public schools. And charter schools are not accountable to the local taxpayers who fund them. Under this proposal, the number of charter schools in Massachusetts would nearly triple in just 10 years, costing local public school districts more than $1 billion a year. If some public schools are falling short, we should fix them, not take money away and give it to privately-run charters. We need to support schools that serve all children. That means investing in areas such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), arts and music, and Pre-K, not diverting even moreresources to charters, which educate just four percent of students. Save Our Public Schools. Vote NO on 2. Authored by: Juan Cofield, Chair; Campaign to Save Our Public Schools; P.O. BOX 15; Boston, MA 02137617-460-7337; saveourpublicschoolsma.com
Ballot Q #3: Conditions for Farm Animals. This proposed law would prohibit any farm owner or operator from knowingly confining any breeding pig, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely. The proposed law would also prohibit any business owner or operator in Massachusetts from selling whole eggs intended for human consumption or any uncooked cut of veal or pork if the business owner or operator knows or should know that the hen, breeding pig, or veal calf that produced these products was confined in a manner prohibited by the proposed law. The proposed law would exempt sales of food products that combine veal or pork with other products, including soups, sandwiches, pizzas, hotdogs, or similar processed or prepared food items. The proposed law’s confinement prohibitions would not apply during transportation; state and county fair exhibitions; 4-H programs; slaughter in compliance with applicable laws and regulations; medical research; veterinary exams, testing, treatment and operation if performed under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian; five days prior to a pregnant pig’s expected date of giving birth; any day that pig is nursing piglets; and for temporary periods for animal husbandry purposes not to exceed six hours in any twenty-four hour period. The proposed law would create a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation and would give the Attorney General the exclusive authority to enforce the law, and to issue regulations to implement it. As a defense to enforcement proceedings, the proposed law would allow a business owner or operator to rely in good faith upon a written certification or guarantee of compliance by a supplier. The proposed law would be in addition to any other animal welfare laws and would not prohibit stricter local laws. The proposed law would take effect on January 1, 2022. The proposed law states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.
IN FAVOR: A YES vote prevents cruel treatment of animals in Massachusetts by ending the practice of cramming farm animals into cages so small they can’t turn around or stretch their limbs, and will remove inhumane and unsafe products from the Massachusetts marketplace. Endorsed by the MSPCA, Animal Rescue League of Boston, The Humane Society of the United States, and 400 Massachusetts veterinarians because no animal should be immobilized in a cramped cage. Endorsed by the Center for Food Safety and Consumer Federation of America because cage confinement increases food safety risks, and a YES vote protects Massachusetts consumers. Endorsed by Massachusetts family farmers and the United Farm Workers because proper treatment of animals is better for farmers. From McDonald’s to Walmart, retailers are switching to cage-free eggs—the right thing to do at the right cost. Vote YES. Protect consumers. Prevent animal cruelty. Authored by: Stephanie Harris, Campaign Director Citizens for Farm Animal Protection; PO Box 470857; Brookline, MA 02447; 617-522-2016; http://www.citizensforfarmanimals.com
AGAINST: A NO vote is necessary to protect Massachusetts consumers’ right to choose from the variety of healthy foods available for purchase today. Question 3 proposes to ban the sale of any veal, pork, and eggs from any state unless produced according to the wishes of the ballot promoters. A recent study undertaken at Cornell University estimates the cost to consumers–just on eggs—would be $70 a year for a family of five. This study also notes that an increase in food prices “disproportionately harms lower income households” and can impact their ability to maintain a “healthy and adequate diet.” Let the free marketplace respond to consumer concerns. The veal industry plans to be completely phased out of veal crates by the end of 2017. 175 food suppliers have already pledged to switch to cage free eggs. Others will follow. This proposed government mandate is neither necessary nor wise. Authored by: William Bell; New England Brown Egg Council; 97 A Exchange Street, Suite 305; Portland, Maine 04101; 207-752-1392; http://www.newenglandbrownegg.com
Ballot Q#4 Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana.
Direct Quotes (reformatted) from Citizens Initiative Review (www.cirmass2016.org). Key Findings The following findings are ranked in order of importance as determined by the citizen panel, from most to least important. • Question 4 provides significant control to city and town authorities by allowing safeguards on the operations of marijuana establishments. It protects business and landlord rights and it prohibits marijuana consumption in public areas. • Question 4’s taxed and regulated system is modeled after the State’s system for alcohol regulation. It replicates a system that is already working well in the State. The proposed system would be controlled, transparent and accountable. • Question 4 allows people to grow a limited number of marijuana plants in his or her home under lock and key for personal use. Sale of homegrown marijuana is still illegal. • Replacing the current marijuana policy in Massachusetts with a regulated and taxed system allows limited legal possession to persons 21 and over. • Legalization would prohibit marketing and branding toward children, as with alcohol and tobacco.
Statement in Support of Question 4 • Legalized and regulated marijuana is safer than black market marijuana because the legalized product will be tested and clearly labeled according to state regulations. • Question 4 will create a large number of regulatory, law enforcement, legal, and licensure jobs that are supported by taxes on the sale of marijuana. • Question 4 would give patients and health providers ready access to marijuana without committing a crime. Legalization could help people avoid opiates, addiction and worse problems. Question 4 legalizes recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth, creating new jobs and adding to the Massachusetts economy. This initiative includes measures for economic sustainability, regulatory responsibility and ensures access to safe products.Safety, responsibility, justice, fairness and freedom are the basic values at stake in this matter.
Statement in Opposition to Question 4 • According to the executive director of marijuana policy for Denver, after legalization, the black market continues to thrive and change. • Although in development, at this time there is no definitive method of testing for impaired drivers. • There is conflicting evidence of an increase in teen use or motor vehicle accidents in states that have legalized recreational use. • Question 4 will create a large number of regulatory, law enforcement, legal, and licensure jobs that are supported by taxes on the sale of marijuana. This referendum proposes a questionable means of legalizing recreational marijuana. There is a lack of transparency as many regulatory policies and procedures will not be defined until after the passage of the referendum. The long-term effects of recreational marijuana use on society, not fully understood, present a threat to our communities and roadways. There is a lack of credible evidence regarding the financial stability and economic gains. The many unknowns in this referendum make it difficult to support Question 4 at this time. Safety, responsibility, and public health and welfare are the core values at stake in this matter.
(Direct Quotes (reformatted) from pp 12-13 of “Information for Voters” (red booklet). The proposed law would permit the possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts by persons age 21 and older and would remove criminal penalties for such activities. It would provide for the regulation of commerce in marijuana, marijuana accessories, and marijuana products and for the taxation of proceeds from sales of these items. The proposed law would authorize persons at least 21 years old to possess up to one ounce of marijuana outside of their residences; possess up to ten ounces of marijuana inside their residences; grow up to six marijuana plants in their residences; give one ounce or less of marijuana to a person at least 21 years old without payment; possess, produce or transfer hemp; or make or transfer items related to marijuana use, storage, cultivation, or processing. The measure would create a Cannabis Control Commission of three members appointed by the state Treasurer which would generally administer the law governing marijuana use and distribution, promulgate regulations, and be responsible for the licensing of marijuana commercial establishments. The proposed law would also create a Cannabis Advisory Board of fifteen members appointed by the Governor. The Cannabis Control Commission would adopt regulations governing licensing qualifications; security; record keeping; health and safety standards; packaging and labeling; testing; advertising and displays; required inspections; and such other matters as the Commission considers appropriate. The records of the Commission would be public records. The proposed law would authorize cities and towns to adopt reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of operating marijuana businesses and to limit the number of marijuana establishments in their communities. A city or town could hold a local vote to determine whether to permit the selling of marijuana and marijuana products for consumption on the premises at commercial establishments. The proceeds of retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products would be subject to the state sales tax and an additional excise tax of 3.75%. A city or town could impose a separate tax of up to 2%. Revenue received from the additional state excise tax or from license application fees and civil penalties for violations of this law would be deposited in a Marijuana Regulation Fund and would be used subject to appropriation for administration of the proposed law. Marijuana-related activities authorized under this proposed law could not be a basis for adverse orders in child welfare cases absent clear and convincing evidence that such activities had created an unreasonable danger to the safety of a minor child. The proposed law would not affect existing law regarding medical marijuana treatment centers or the operation of motor vehicles while under the influence. It would permit property owners to prohibit the use, sale, or production of marijuana on their premises (with an exception that landlords cannot prohibit consumption by tenants of marijuana by means other than by smoking); and would permit employers to prohibit the consumption of marijuana by employees in the workplace. State and local governments could continue to restrict uses in public buildings or at or near schools. Supplying marijuana to persons under age 21 would be unlawful. The proposed law would take effect on December 15, 2016.
IN FAVOR: Law enforcement veterans support this initiative because it replaces the current unregulated marijuana market, controlled by drug dealers, with a tightly regulated system controlled by state and local authorities. Passing this measure will allow local law enforcement to shift resources and focus to serious and violent crimes. The initiative includes strict regulations for business licensing, product testing, labeling and packaging, providing many more consumer safeguards than exist now. Marketing to minors is strictly prohibited, as is public use and driving under the influence. Local cities and towns can limit or ban marijuana businesses, and will govern operating hours, locations, and signage. Taxing marijuana will generate an estimated $100 million in annual revenue for state and local governments. Regulation and taxation is working in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon, generating millions of dollars for education, infrastructure and more. Massachusetts can improve on the regulatory standards already in place and working elsewhere. Authored by: Will Luzier; YES on 4; P.O. Box 961354; Boston, MA 02196; 857-239-8743; http://www.regulatemass.com
AGAINST: Vote “NO” on creating a billion-dollar commercial marijuana industry that, just like Big Tobacco, would make millions on the backs of our communities, compromise health and safety, and harm kids. Vote “NO” because this measure: • Allows the sale and marketing of highly-potent marijuana edibles like candy, cookies, gummy bears, and soda that are attractive to young people and can lead to accidental overdose by kids and pets. • Allows people to “home grow” thousands of dollars’ worth of marijuana, even if neighbors object. • Severely restricts the ability of cities and towns to control the number of marijuana retailers entering communities and allows pot shops to locate near preschools and playgrounds. • Ignores the deadly opioid epidemic and the impact legalized pot will have on overall drug use. This legalization scheme would force Massachusetts into the commercial marijuana industry when communities across Colorado, the first state to legalize, are trying to get out. Authored by: Representative Hannah Kane; The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts; PO Box 15; Boston, MA 02137; 909-969-8374 (campaign manager); http://www.SafeAndHealthyMA.com; Daniel J. Delaney; Safe Cannabis Massachusetts; 11 Beacon Street; Boston, MA 02108; 857-239-8471; http://www.safecannabisma.com.