Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Will the GOP 2012 Presidential Primary Look Like the GOP 2008 Primary?

Who’s on the 2012 “Naughty or Nice List” So Far?

Photo Credit - Flickr Creative

With the mid-term elections over less than a month ago, speculation on the GOP 2012 presidential primary candidates has already begun. It reminds me of stores putting up holiday decorations the day after Halloween. What ever happened to Thanksgiving decorations? Those who sell political opinion, like those who sell potential Christmas and Hanukah gifts, want to sell early and often.

I wish politicians and the media would concentrate only on addressing why it’s acceptable for Congress to have had a year to pass a budget and decide on raising taxes in a recession, and they haven’t done either yet. I’d like a pine tree wooded ranch in Montana or Nevada with lots of horses for Christmas too. I’m guessing I’m not going to get either this year. Santa can be tone deaf that way.

So, as the “in the spirit” political reindeer that I am, I’m dreaming of 2012 candidates dancing above my head. Will the GOP 2012 presidential primary look just like the GOP 2008 presidential primary? Will there be a challenger to President Obama in the Democrat 2012 primary?

Just like major stores poll long before the holidays to know what toys to stock for holiday buying, the polls have already begun to determine which GOP presidential candidates the public wants to buy. These political polls like to compare the buy choice to the 2008 most popular buy – President Obama.

The most recent poll was conducted on November 22 by Quinnipiac University. The poll most notably summarizes, “President Barack Obama does not deserve a second term, American voters say 49 - 43 percent, and he is in a statistical dead heat with possible Republican challengers Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. President Obama leads Sarah Palin 48 - 40 percent.”

Apparently Independent voting Santa has President Obama on the naughty list this Christmas. But, the Democratic working elves don’t as reflected in the poll, “Democratic voters say 64 - 27 percent they do not want anyone to challenge President Obama for their party's nomination in 2012.”

Quinnipiac notes former GOP Governors Mitt Romney (MA), Mike Huckabee (AR), and current Governor Mitch Daniels (IN) are on the nice list. “In trial heats for 2012, former Massachusetts Gov. Romney receives 45 percent to 44 percent for Obama, while the president gets 46 percent to 44 percent for Mr. Huckabee. Matched against Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a virtual unknown to most voters, the president leads 45 - 36 percent.”

Voters may put a lump of coal in Governor Sarah Palin’s primary stocking according to Quinnipiac. “Ms. Palin is viewed the most negatively by the American people of the possible Republican candidates in 2012. She is viewed unfavorable by 51 percent of voters and favorably by 36 percent. Among independents, the key swing voting bloc, she has a negative 54 - 33 percent favorability rating.”

I’m the political commentary reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh navigating through the political storms. I know, I’m not in any of the storybooks, for Santa likes to appear nonpolitical. He agreed to let me share my 2012 GOP potential primary thoughts under an assumed identity. Here are the quick “nice” and “naughty” that I see:

GOP 2012 CANDIDATE (Current Position) - NICE / NAUGHTY LIST:

*Mitt Romney (Former MA Gov)–WH needs business acumen, looks presidential, smart / Romneycare, 2008 primary loss, abortion flip flop
*Mike Huckabee (Former AR Gov) – fair tax, conservative, sensible, experienced, likeable / too religious as a Baptist minister, too willing to compromise with left
*Sarah Palin (Former AK Gov) – conservative, Tea Party darling, DC outsider / too conservative, polarizing, “say it often enough lies becomes fact” media campaign, left governor term early
*Mitch Daniels (Current IN Gov) - conservative, very tough on spending cuts, honest / not supportive of conservative position necessarily on social issues
*Bobby Jindal (Current LA Gov) – young, likeable, handled BP oil spill and hurricane Gustav well / soft spoken, too likeable can appear too compromising
*Tim Pawlenty (Leaving MN Gov) – young, likeable, smart / soft spoken, can seem wishy-washy at times
*Jeb Bush (Former FL Gov) – young, very smart, experienced / brother of President G.W. Bush
*John Kasich (Current OH Gov) – conservative, leadership, tough, smart / some see as Wall Street darling
*Chris Christie (Current NJ Gov) – tough, smart, honest, unafraid / unions will mount huge offensive
*John McCain (Current AZ Senator) – war hero / old, been there-done that and lost big, flip flop on illegal immigration for AZ 2010 senate primary
*Lindsey Graham (Current SC Senator) – young, Iraq-Afghanistan expert / seen as Republican in Name Only (RINO), DC insider
* Jim DeMint (Current SC Senator) – conservative, smart, leadership / too conservative, DC insider
*John Thune (Current SD Senator) – young, conservative, smart, honest / low name recognition
*John Boehner (Speaker Elect OH) – smart, politically experienced / plays golf a lot, can seem wishy-washy from too many years in DC at times, too emotional at times
*Mike Pence (Current IN Rep) – conservative, smart, leadership / strong anti-abortion funding position
*Ron Paul (Current TX Rep) – libertarian bend timing, honest / old, polarizing, too radical
*Newt Gingrich (Former Speaker GA) – very smart, tough, experienced / old, lots of baggage, mean spirited
*Rudy Giuliani (Former Mayer NYC) – tough, smart, leadership, honest / not conservative enough, 2008 primary loss
*General David Petraeus – smart, leadership, correct on Iraq / political inexperience, no economy experience
*Donald Trump (Current Business Tycoon) – smart, tough, leadership, business experience / political inexperience, could be seen as in the “evil rich that caused the economic mess” category

It will be interesting to see if like President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, President Obama has a primary challenger for 2012. Obama, like Johnson may end up being a never ending war president with a strong anti-war Democrat base. President Obama, like President Johnson did, may end up with a primary challenger that is stronger anti war like Johnson’s challenger MN Senator Eugene McCarthy. And then, once a challenger comes in to take the initial heat, President Obama may end up with a challenger that could take the primary from him – think Hillary – or like Johnson’s Robert Kennedy.

On my 2012 Christmas list is “I’d like to see President Obama run a strong reelection in 2012 against a strong challenge from Governor Chris Christie with the Vice President candidate being Florida Senator Marco Rubio or Florida Representative Retired Lt. Colonel Allen West. And if current Vice President Joe Biden decides to retire, I hope current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be President Obama’s Vice President candidate.”

Could you imagine the 2012 presidential and vice presidential debates with that line-up? We would have a true “light the tree” excitement level all year. A reindeer can dream, right?


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Is the US So PC It Will Accept TSA Liberties Assault?

Both Photos - Credit Flickr CC
The US remains the country people want to immigrate to legally and illegally. America is still viewed as the land of opportunity even with current economic problems and global criticism. Americans still stand as embodiment of “the free and the brave”.

The Bill of Rights continues to represent American liberty. Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech, considered a rally for the American Revolution against a tyrannical ruler, reflects American sacredness of liberty and freedom for its citizens.

Has America become so ruled by political correctness it will dishonor its heritage with mandated selective liberty? Will Americans continue to accept obvious political correctness hypocrisy?

The new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport security screening enhancement mandates passengers to accept being electronically photographed nude or intrusively physically screened (at a level of sexual assault in any other circumstance) or both.

San Diego resident John Tyner recorded his TSA pat-down objection this week. Mr. Tyner was not allowed to board the plane or leave the airport without additional questioning. TSA is officially investigating him. He faces a large fine and prosecution on a charge of leaving the airport’s security area without permission.

Unlike Mr. Tyner, it appears many Americans have taken a passive “well if it keeps us safe, then we have to do it” attitude. Security officials, and most informed citizens, understand these new intrusive measures can not guarantee non-metallic explosives detection. In reality, is TSA promoting a false sense of enhanced security?

Our founding father Ben Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Public acceptance may be exaggerated however. A Reuter’s ongoing poll asking “Are you less likely to fly because of stepped-up security procedures such as full body scans and patdowns?” reflects a 96% YES response at 74,899 respondents.

Citizens are objecting. Lawsuits have been filed to stop the use of the body scanners. Civil liberties organizations including the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) have filed suits against TSA citing several concerns.

EPIC filed a lawsuit against TSA in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals asking the court to halt the US government's use of naked body scanners altogether in July.

EPIC has brought claims under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Privacy Act, the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the 4th Amendment.

EPIC filed additional lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week.

Exemptions have been demanded. Airline pilots have been granted an exemption. A modified pat-down will be allowed for children 12 years and under who require extra screening.

The most controversial request came from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to allow Muslim women be exempt on religious objection. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano responded she would consider it. She was politically correct enough not to see the irony everyone else saw.

TSA Chief Pistole indicated there would be no exemptions for religious practice to the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Less than a week later on November 21, he acquiesced conditions would be adaptable.

Do we have the political courage to stop piling on useless airport security, without genuine suspicion and due process, simply to feel good about our righteousness? Can we end the US’ appeasement of those sworn to kill our people and destroy our country from the inside out?

Should every American citizen be profiled a terrorist carrying a weapon or explosive until screened not to be? We must change course and policy based on political correctness now.

May we all agree security and realism are non-exclusive? We must be capable of acknowledging and saying out loud that security techniques used in Israel as an example have been effective. Israelis are trained properly to identify the known enemy and do not waste time or common sense to feel PC good.

Profiling for effective security is a forbidden concept in the US. Security modifications or exemptions due to oppressive measures weakens security structure. Our enemies are just as reactive to us as we are to them. We know they make adjustments to each new obstacle we insert into their method.

Pilots and children 12 and under are exempt. New terrorist plans will include pilots and children. It can and has become a never ending process. Better metal detection led to non-metal explosives ingenuity. And on it will go.

The US has undisputable intelligence analysis and summary representing distinctive features and characteristics of terrorism attacks and of the terrorist that commit them – a political correct way of describing a profile.

Intelligence gathered by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), DHS, DOJ, and military operations substantiate terrorism identification. The US knows terrorism is coming from radicalized Islam. The US knows terrorists are radicalized Muslim men and the countries most likely to train them

Americans are fair, but they understand what is needed. A 2010 Rasmussen poll reflects 59% believe “factors such as race, ethnicity and overall appearance should be used to determine which boarding passengers to search at airports”. 71% said “such profiling is necessary in today’s environment”.

The poll showed Americans do understand political correctness has had an impact on safety with 63% saying “political correctness prevented the military from responding to warning signs from a Muslim US Army officer, Major Nadal Malik Hasan that could have prevented the Fort Hood massacre from taking place”.

Refusing to use this information effectively, the US is showing itself to be so politically correct it is imposing a TSA assault on civil liberties. We must resist the ridiculousness of putting our manpower and money toward political correct security that only allows us feeling better, not being safer.

President Franklin Roosevelt’s “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” could be applied to political correctness in 2010.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy 235th Birthday Marines

I just love this video......."Gene Simmons Military Tribute". Did you know? - My dad was a Purple Heart awardee in the marines. Happy BDay marines - and I love you and miss you dad.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Major State Ballot Measures Mid-Term Outcome – Yes or No by 2010 Voters?


Photo Credit - Flickr Common
As detailed in last week’s Part 1 and Part 2 posts on major statewide hot topic legislation, the 2010 mid-term election voters also decided numerous statewide ballot measures in categories such as taxes and state budgets as well as healthcare mandates and legalizing marijuana.

There were fiscal legislation state ballot measures considered as well as social legislation state ballot measures with 37 states deciding 160 ballot questions in all on November 2. What did the voters say? Let’s examine the November 2 election outcome by category type noted in our pre-election articles.


Part 1 – Fiscal Legislation


Government Administration & Government Accountability:
YES - IL – Amendment 31, Allows governor recall.
NO - CO – Amendment 61, Forbids debt by loans.

State Budget & Taxes:
YES
- FL – Federal Budget Question, Asks should Congress add an amendment to the US Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget.
NO - CA – Proposition 24, Eliminates three business tax breaks.
YES - CA – Proposition 26, Requires a 2/3 supermajority in state legislature to pass certain state and local fees.
NO - CO – Amendment R, Eliminates property taxes for business or individual using government owned property for a private benefit.
NO - CO – Amendment 60, Reduces property taxes.
YES - GA – Referendum A, Exempts business inventory from property tax.
YES - IN – Question 1, Adds property tax cap to IN Constitution.
NO - LA – Amendment 4, Allows property tax increases limitation.
NO - MA – Question 3, Rolls back 6.25% sales tax to 3%.
YES - MO – Amendment 3, Prohibits any new taxes on the sale or transfer of all real estate.
YES - MT – CI-105, Prohibits any new taxes on the sale or transfer of all real estate.
YES - WA – Initiative 1053, Requires a 2/3 supermajority of WA state legislature or statewide vote for tax increases.
NO - WA – Initiative 1098, Raises income taxes on high earners and reduces some business and occupation taxes and state property tax by 20%.
YES - WA – Initiative 1107, Repeals tax on candy, bottled water, soda pop.

Elections & Campaigns:
NO
- NM – Amendment 2, Extends term limits to New Mexico county officials.
YES - NM – Amendment 3. YES – Adopts federal requirements to vote subject to state registration and resident requirements.
YES - OK – Question 746, Mandates voters must provide proof of photo identity to vote.
YES - OK – Question 747, Limits term of office of elected officials.
YES - UT – Amendment B, Amends and clarifies legislative residency requirements.
Related Notes:
NO
- City of Portland, ME – Local Proposal, Allows non-US citizens to vote in local issues and school elections.
NO - City of San Francisco – Proposition D, Allows non-US citizens to vote in local school elections.


Part 2 – Social Legislation


Healthcare & Abortion:
YES
- AZ – Proposition 106, Prohibits rules against health care participation.
NO - CO – Amendment 62, Defines “person” as beginning at biological development.
NO - CO – Amendment 63, Protects the individual right to make health care decision for one self.
YES - OK – Question 756, Allows residents to opt out of any federal healthcare mandates.

Affirmative Action, English & International Law:
YES
- AZ – Proposition 107, Bans preferential acceptance in employment.
YES - OK – Question 751, Specifies English as the “common and unifying language of Oklahoma”.
YES - OK – Question 755, Forbids courts to consider law other than US federal or Oklahoma state.

Marijuana & Environment:
NO
- AZ – Proposition 203, Legalizes marijuana for medicinal purposes.
NO - CA – Proposition 19, Legalizes marijuana for recreational use and taxes it.
NO - CA – Proposition 23, Suspends “Global Warming Act” until unemployment is below 5.5%.
NO - OR – Measure 74, Allows state to license marijuana farmers who can distribute crop to medical marijuana dispensaries.
NO - SD – Initiated Measure 13, Legalizes marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Labor/Secret Union Vote:
YES
- AZ – Proposition 113, Gives the right of a secret ballot for union organizing elections.
YES - SC – Amendment 2, Allows voters to decide whether it is a fundamental right to have secret ballots in deciding if workers are represented by a specific labor organization.
YES - SD – Amendment K, Protects secret ballot in union elections.
YES - UT – Amendment A, Requires employee representation to be by secret ballot.
Related Notes:
AR, CO, FL, MO worked toward getting a secret ballot measure on the 2010 ballot but were not successful.
NV will have a ballot measure to protect the secret ballot in union representation on the 2012 ballot.

Miscellaneous – Just Because:
YES
- KS – Question 1, Allows citizens to bear arms in state.
YES - KS – Question 2, Eliminates mental illness as a voting disqualification.

There were 184 statewide ballot measures voted on in 2010 in all including the ones voted on prior to November 2. According to ballotpedia, 64.7% at 119 was approved and 35.3% at 65 was defeated.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Americans Stepping Up – The Power of One in Helping Job Seekers

An Interview with Kathy Bernard, Creator of “Get a Job! Blog & Workshops"
Photo Credit - Flickr Creative Common

We all know the power of one. We are in awe of it when we think of Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, and the anonymous man who stood his ground in front of tanks at Tiananmen Square.

Each of us has also seen the power of one in everyday life, whether we realized it or not, in the teacher who inspires a child to achieve his or her dream; in the teenager who stands up to bullies to protect a friend; and in the mom who tirelessly gives her all every day to her children. These are just some of the everyday people that step up and are the power of one hero making a caring difference in someone else’s life.

In today’s tough economic climate, there are millions of unemployed Americans. For the first time in their lives many of them can not find a job. Some are lost and need help in finding a path back to normal. They are not hoping for a hand-out. They are searching for a hand-up in the form of direction in finding a job.

As the politicians fight over how best to create jobs, individual Americans are stepping up to give immediate hope and effective help to those seeking jobs. It is their way of giving back. They simply want to make a difference that matters. Kathy Bernard is a corporate communications leader based in St. Louis, Missouri. She is also the creator of "Get a Job! Blog & Workshops". She is making a difference.

BKH: What was the motivation in wanting to give back?
KB: I have always enjoyed trying to do something to make the world a better place. Usually I try to do it through a paying job at a nonprofit, but since I am in a more corporate type of position now, I figured out a way I could help others in my free time at little or no cost to me or them. I started writing a blog, leading workshops, and offering one-on-one lunches.

I believe we all have a higher purpose on this earth than to just live and die. We should each look for our own personal way to help. We all have different gifts and interests.

BKH: What made you decide on helping others by doing the "Get a Job! Blog & Workshops" specifically?
KB: A little over a year ago I wanted to gain some experience in blogging and social media. I knew so many people that have lost their jobs, and I had always been tenaciously good at finding work. I was always giving friends advice about how to tweak their resume and cover letter, and I knew how to maneuver around the online job application. So I put all of that knowledge into the blog.

BKH: Explain how you starting doing the workshops and how they evolved from the blog.
KB: Local people who read my “Get a Job!” blog began asking for in-person help. To meet this need, I began offering “Career Launch Lunches”. Since many job seekers just don’t have the money to pay experts to help them, I saw this as an alternative to costly career coaching for them. We meet at a fast food place, and for the price of lunch, about $3.75 for my fast food meal + their meal; they can ask me for whatever guidance they need. If they need more in-depth help, like say to improve their LinkedIn presence, I can offer them additional personal assistance for $25 per session.

Also, within a month of starting my blog, a person who had seen one of my blog posts asked if I would put together workshops for his church. I enjoyed hosting two workshops with his church so much; I started promoting my availability to lead employment workshops on my blog. I usually charge a nominal fee for conducting a workshop or workshop series, but I work with host organizations on options if money is an issue.

After those first workshops, the church surveyed the participants; and one wrote that they had seriously considered suicide before my workshops. They wrote the workshops made them feel that things would turn out OK and that they had renewed strength to keep going. I felt like “Wow, what a blessing it is that I can help someone like that who really needs a little hope in their life.”

I love the interaction of the workshops. I enjoy seeing people's eyes light up when they realize that effective job seeking isn't as hard as they feared and that they are capable to seek and find a job.

BKH: What type of help do people seem to need most?
KB: Most people want help with their resume and building their networking. Sometimes they want to know how to approach certain companies or how to word being terminated from a job. Those who have not applied for a job in 20 years have often let their technical skills go, and they need help in creating a resume document and in applying online. It is a very scary world for people who avoid anything technical. They've got to push past their fears and learn online communication skills.

BKH: Who is the average person that comes to you for help?
KB: It’s equally male and female. Generally the most responsive to my offer of help tends to be the professionals and American baby boomers. But, I've helped all kinds of people from all over the U.S. and Canada. I’ve also helped people overseas through InMessages and e-mail. I meet a lot of people locally at my "Career Launch Lunches" and my local workshops. Typically, the people I work with have been out of work for several months and have grown weary trying to go it alone. They are frustrated by the lack of response to their job applications.

The people I help range from people who haven't applied for a job in 20 years, and they have no clue how to fill out an online application; to those who are extremely tech savvy, but they have difficulties dealing one-on-one with recruiters or other less technical people. The type of work they are looking for varies, but the largest group is communications and marketing professionals. I also hear from general business job seekers, recruiters, sales representatives, project/production managers, trainers, and IT professionals.

BKH: What have you gotten out of this work that validates it the most for you?
KB: I love to hear from someone who has been struggling with unemployment that just landed a job. I want to jump out of my seat and yell, "Yeah!", like I just got the job myself. I have been unemployed and know what it feels like. You worry you won't be able to provide for your family. You fear that you won't have proper benefits to care for a family member who may have a catastrophic illness or accident.

It is terrifying, sad, and demoralizing for most people to be unemployed. If you are used to working, unemployment suddenly thrust you into a situation where you aren't sure you can contribute to a company in a meaningful way any more. It’s a hard pill to swallow if you are told to go away, because you are no longer needed. So what I get the most out of doing my blog and workshops is helping one less person being stuck in feeling this way, and that is awesome for me!
BKH: Kathy can be contacted directly through her LinkedIn profile.

Check out the "Topical Archive" section of the "Get a Job! Blog & Workshops" website. It offers an in-depth resource list for job seekers from resume and job application advice to interviewing tips to networking help to social media use expertise.

Gloria Buckman has attended a couple of Kathy Bernard’s workshops and reads her blog. She sums up the power of one difference well in her thank you note to Kathy, “I want to remind you how much your help with unemployed people means to folks. It is scary, not just the lack of income, but tackling the whole job-hunting process seems daunting, and you make it human. The fact that you donate your time is amazing, and I pray God richly blesses you for that."

Kathy Bernard is one of the many quiet heroes that have always made America stronger in its most difficult times through the power of one reality. There are many in America right now quietly making a big difference. Perhaps you are one or could be.

For additional individual Americans stepping up to assist job seekers with free help see my AXcess News article “Job Hunting? – JobAngels Networking May be an Answer to Your Prayer”

Monday, November 1, 2010

Major State Ballot Measures Voters Will Decide on Nov 2 – Part 2, Social Legislation


Healthcare Mandates, Education, Personhood Definition, Legal Marijuana, and Union Secret Voting
Photo Credit - Flickr Creative

Social issues have taken a back seat to fiscal issues recently. According to ballotpedia.org, “The 2010 ballot includes fewer social issues (such as abortion, marriage, immigration, gambling) than has been the case in recent years, although one of the most widely-remarked measures on the ballot, California’s Proposition 19, is a classic in the genre.”

The discussion in 2010 has centered on the economy, jobs, and deficit spending. It’s rare to hear a discussion on future deficit without the new healthcare reform being a part of the mix, especially since the touted “saving” are now accepted by some Democrats as unrealistic. The most contentious part of the bill is the mandate that every citizen must purchase health insurance, and 21 states have filed lawsuits against the federal government related to the reform.

It’s not surprising 4 states have ballot measures relating to the new bill – AZ, CO, MO, and OK. Arizona’s Proposition 106 would prohibit rules against specific health care participation. Amendment 63 in CO is meant to protect the individual’s right to make health care decisions for one self. Proposition C already passed on August 3 in MO is to the point – it blocks a government mandate to buy health insurance. And, OK’s Question 756 is blunt proposing to allow residents to opt out of any federal healthcare mandates.

With the release of the education reform message documentary “Waiting for Superman”, education has jumped to the front of hot topics in the last month or so. There are 7 states with ballot measures relating to the “Education” category – AL, FL, HI, ID, OK, OR, and RI.

The usual top areas in the social categories are rather quiet in 2010 ballot measures. Arizona has an “Affirmative Action” measure with Proposition 107 which would ban preferential acceptance in employment. Oklahoma has an ”English” measure with Question 751 which specifies English is the “common and unifying language of Oklahoma”. Oklahoma is the only state with an election measure also considered an “Immigration” measure with Question 746 which proposes voters must provide proof of photo identity to vote.

Even though the definition of marriage was a hot debate in recent elections, there are no ballot measures this time in the “Marriage” category. The “Abortion” category is represented by 2 ballot measures. Measure 2 in AK already passed on August 24 mandates a doctor may not perform the abortion procedure on a minor without informing at least one parent. Measure further mandates that the legal penalties on the doctor for conducting minor abortions without parental consent will be enforced.

One of the ballot measures with the most impact potential is CO’s “Fetal Personhood” Amendment 62 which proposes defining the term “person” to every human being from the beginning of the biological development. The officially-approved ballot title says:

“An amendment to the Colorado Constitution applying the term 'person' as used in those provisions of the Colorado Constitution relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice and due process of law, to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.”

In line with a growing discussion trend, 4 states have ballot measures under the “Marijuana” type. Marijuana legalization for medicinal purpose is proposed in AZ, OR, and SD. California’s Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, is the most sweeping and would take effect the day after the election. It would “legalize various marijuana-related activities, allow local governments to regulate these activities, permit local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes, and authorize various criminal and civil penalties.” In addition, 11 CA cities have local November 2 ballot measures allowing them to tax recreational marijuana should Prop 19 pass as a statewide ballot measure.

There are a few ballot measures that fall in the meaningful miscellaneous type category. They seem to be taking some aim at UN or foreign law consideration and at Card Check in the federal level discussions by the White House and Democrats. In OK under the “Judicial Reform” category, Question 755 proproses federal and state laws be used to decide cases by courts and forbids courts from considering international law. Four states have ballot measures under the “Labor” category that propose vote by secret ballot for union elections – AZ, CO, MO, and OK.

And just for fun, maybe this observation will make you smile like it did me. There are only 2 measures on the Kansas ballot – Question 1 would allow citizens to bear arms in the state, and Question 2 would eliminate mental illness as a voting disqualification. Ok, maybe it was just me.

Major State Ballot Measures Voters Will Decide on Nov 2 – Part 1, Fiscal Legislation

Government Accountability, State Budget, Taxes, and Elections & Campaigns

Photo Credit - Flickr Common

In addition to voting for candidates on November 2, the mid-term election voters will also be deciding numerous statewide ballot measures in the major hot topic areas such as taxes and state budgets as well as healthcare mandates and legalizing marijuana.

According to ballotpedia.org, 184 ballot questions have been certified for spots on the 38 statewide ballots in 2010, as of October 25, 2010. Specifically for the November 2, 2010 general election ballot, 160 ballot questions have been certified in 37 states.”

Ballotpedia further notes, “5 political topics dominate the 2010 ballot, and 3 of the 5 most popular topics each relate to fiscal policy. The ‘Big 5’ topics on the 2010 ballot are taxes, administration of government, elections and campaigns, bond issues, and state budgets. The number of 2010 ballot measures relating to fiscal topics is an increase of about 13% over the number of such measures on the 2008 ballot.”

“Government Administration” type ballot measures accounts for 25 down from 34 ballot measures in 2008. This represents the largest decrease of type with -9 from 2008 to 2010. States with this measure type include AZ, CO, GA, HI, ID, IL, LA, MI, MT, NE, OK, OR, SD, and UT.

Most notable is Illinois’ only statewide proposal “Illinois Governor Recall Amendment”, also called the “House Joint Constitutional Amendment 31”, which would allow voters to recall the Governor. Perhaps this comes out of Illinois’ experience this year that it might be easier to recall a Governor than to prosecute him/her.

“Government Accountability” has been a hot discussion topic this year, and there are 2 ballot measures of this type – 1 each in AK and NE. Taxpayer money and government fiscal responsibility were a part of the general accountability discussion of course. Statewide ballot measures reflect the growing watchdog voter attitudes. “Bond Issues” type make up 21 ballot measures in 9 states – AK, AR, ME, NE, NM, OH, OR, RI, and WA. Amendment 61 in CO perhaps displays lessons learned at the federal level on dificit spending – it forbids debt by loans in any form in CO.

There are 15 “State Budget” type ballot measures in 2010 compared with only 2 in this category in 2008. This represents the largest increase of type with +13 from 2008 to 2010. States with this measure type include AZ, CA, CO, FL, HI, OK, SD, VA, and WA. Also add 2 additional “State Spending” type measures – CA and OK. Florida has also included a “Federal Budget” question on their ballot asking if Congress should add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that requires a balanced federal budget.

The ballot measure type “Taxes” shares the largest increase of type with “State Budget” with +13 from 26 in 2008 to 39 in 2010. Twenty-one states have tax measures on the ballot – AL, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, HI, IN, IO, LA, MA, ME, MO, MT, ND, NM, NV, OR, UT, VA, and WA. Louisiana has the most at 5 measures followed by CA and AL with 4. Colorado, MO, and WA all have 3.

Most significant in the “Taxes” category is CA’s Proposition 26 which mandates voters must give permission prior to any new taxes being imposed. Initiative 1053 on WA’s ballot requires a statewide vote or a 2/3 supermajority vote of the WA state legislature for tax increases.
Most interesting is WA Initiative 1107 which would repeal various 2010 state tax law amendments passed which included a sales tax on candy and bottled water and a temporary excise tax on soda pop. Perhaps they jumped on the nanny state bandwagon before they thought it through completely.

On June 8, ME passed veto referendum Question 1 the Main Tax Code People’s Veto resulting in overturning the tax reforms overall in its entirety approved by the ME legislature and signed by the Governor in 2009. The reform package vetoed included an increase in state meals and lodging taxes, broader state sales tax to include more items, and an income tax rate cut.
Oregon measures 66 and 67 already passed on a January 26, 2010 ballot. This raised the state’s high income individuals and corporate income taxes as a referendum on HB2649 and HB3405. Washington’s Initiative 1098 on the November 2 ballot is also about income taxes. If passed, it taxes gross income above $400,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals.

In addition, WA’s Initiative 1098 would reduce certain business and occupation taxes and state property taxes by 20%. Proposition 24 in CA goes the opposite direction proposing to eliminate 3 business tax breaks. I know, but I have to ask - Will this attract more business to the deficit plagued state? Yet, CA shows a sign of reality in its Propostion 23 under “Environment” type which proposes to suspend AB 32, the “Global Warming Solutions Act” until unemployment falls below 5.5%.

Georgia on the other hand proposes with Referendum A to exempt business inventory from state property tax. Amendment R in CO proposes eliminating property taxes for business or individual that use government owned property for a private benefit.

Property taxes in general are a hot button item as reflected by several ballot measures for no property tax or additional homestead exemption for the military or the elderly in FL, LA, MO, and VA. Colorado’s Amendment 60 proposes a reduction in property taxes while LA’s Amendment 4 proposes property tax increases limitation; and IN’s Question 1 proposes adding a property tax cap IN Constitution Amendment.

Perhaps to head-off a possible federal VAT tax being imposed, MO and MT have ballot measures to prohibit any new taxes on the sale or transfer of all real estate.

State sales tax amount is being addressed in MA with ballot measure Question 3 to propose rolling back the 6.25% sales tax back to 3%. Going in the opposite direction, AZ’s Proposition 100 already passed on May 18. It increases state sales tax by 1% for 3 years.

“Elections & Campaigns” have held particular interest in 2010 with the completion of the 2010 U.S. Census that will determine states gaining or losing Congressional House seats and state voting redistricting. There are 15 ballot measures in this category up from 9 in 2008 on 10 state ballots – CA, FL, IL, KS, MO, NC, NM, OK, UT, and VT. Three states have measures regarding redistricting – CA, FL, and OK.

Illustrating voter sentiment in 2010 with career politicians, NM and OK have ballot measures that propose term limits. Innovative again with Proposition 14 that already passed on June 8, CA will have the top 2 primary election vote getters move to the general election whatever the party affiliation.

While voters in liberal cities San Francisco and Portland, ME will determine if non-U.S. citizens should be allowed to vote in local elections, 3 statewide ballot measures seem to be tightening up on eligible voter determination. Amendment 3 in NM proposes to adopt federal requirements to vote, subject to state registration and resident requirements. Oklahoma’s Question 746 proposes voters must provide proof of photo identity to vote. And, Amendment B in UT would amend and clarify legislative residency requirements. There are currently 22 states that have voter identification requirements.