On Tuesday, Massachusetts voters will have three ballot referenda to decide. Here’s the Mad Biologist’s endorsements.
Question 1 would create a new category of licenses for food stores to sell wine, and it would allow local licensing authorities to issue such licenses. Of the three ballot initiatives, this one has received the most attention, and is the most trivial. It’s really a battle between wine sellers and grocery stores. Personally, this will have no effect on me one way or the other. I don’t think it will affect prices, and I also don’t think it will lead to hordes of drunks wandering the streets of Boston. Flip a coin.
Question 2 would allow a candidate for public office to be nominated for the same office by more than one political party or political designation at the same election. I saw the Working Families Party in New York get a lot of good legislation passed because Democrats would often vote for dual nominees in the Working Families Party. It’s a good way for the base to let the Democrats know what it’s thinking. Vote yes on Question 2.
Question 3 would allow licensed and other authorized providers of child care in private homes under the state’s subsidized child care system to bargain collectively with the state. A vote, whether for or against, won’t influence the quality of care. What this is all about is wages. If the state won’t pay these workers a decent wage, then unions are needed. The use of power is what will raise the median wage in this country. Vote yes on Question 3.
Flip a coin? I am of the opinion that the referendum system is very frequently abused (to be fair, I live in California), so when I get the voter’s packet, any such propositions have a higher burden for me. In most cases, I vote no unless
1) It’s very important
2) It can’t be passed via the legislature (either the legislature has a strong conflict of interest or lacks the constitutional authority to do it without a vote by the people)
If you don’t pass those, you’re outta here in most cases. Again though, I don’t think that any state is quite as crazy about putting things on the ballot as California is. Our election packet frequently looks like a phone book. Everybody wants to get into the act, and they rarely have particularly good ideas. It’s usually just some interest group that has found that this particular piece of legislation is cheaper to buy through propaganda to the voters than through donations to legislators.
I figure, unless it’s important, I’d rather see fewer laws added to the books if at all possible.