Ballot measures

November 3, 2010

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There were 160 statewide ballot questions decided in 37 states, with several local initiatives as well. Here a look at a few of the most important and interesting.

Up in smoke: The most talked-about initiative, a California proposal to make the state the first to legalize recreational marijuana, was rejected 56 percent to 44 percent. In South Dakota, voters rejected a measure to legalize medical marijuana — a step already taken by California and 13 other states.

No Sharia Law for Sooners: In Oklahoma, voters prohibited state courts from considering international law or Islamic law when deciding cases.

Long name for littlest state: Rhode Islanders chose to keep the state’s formal name — opting to stay as Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, instead of just Rhode Island.

Health care pushback: Oklahoma voters approved a proposed amendment aimed at nullifying the segment of the new federal health care law requiring people to have health insurance. Similar measures were on the ballots in Arizona and Colorado.

Definition of life: Colorado voters decided against an antiabortion ”personhood” amendment — similar to one rejected in 2008 — that would have given full rights to unborn fetuses in the state constitution.

Gay rights pushback: For the first time since the 1990s, there were no measures to ban same-sex marriage. But in Iowa, voters ousted three state Supreme Court justices who joined a unanimous ruling last year that legalized gay marriage there.

Pollution control: California voters soundly rejected Proposition 23, which would have suspended the state’s landmark greenhouse-gas emissions law until the jobless rate falls to 5.5 percent for a year. Backed by out-of-state oil companies but opposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and environmentalists, the law lost 58 to 41.

The Rod Blagojevich effect: In Illinois, where the two most recent governors have been convicted on federal charges, a proposed amendment that would empower voters to recall governors was passed easily.

Bets in Maine: A proposal for the state’s first full-blown casino with slot machines and table games remained too close to call.

SOURCE: Associated Press