Boston, MA – On Monday, July 9th, the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office announced the three ballot questions on which the MA public will be voting this November. Many proposed ballot questions did not make the cut, especially following Governor Charlie Baker’s signing of the Grand Bargain, which addressed several potential topics such as the minimum wage and paid employee leave.
The three elected ballot questions are as follows:
- Stricter regulations on patient-to-nurse ratios
A “yes” vote on this item would restrict the maximum number of patients that can be assigned to a nurse at any given point during her working hours. The proposed law also imposes $25,000 fine for any facility that violates it. This new attempt is supported by nurses’ unions, who argue that it promotes better safety and quality care for patients. Many Massachusetts hospital associations are in opposition of the proposed legislature, as they contend that it may result in the cutting of services and longer wait times for patients.
- Citizens’ committee to attain a constitutional amendment
This item is a response to the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court case of 2010, where it was decided that the government is not permitted to limit the political spending of companies. Those petitioning for the amendment say that it is a “threat to our democracy” if the power of money in political dealings goes unchecked. A “yes” vote would elect for the creation of a MA citizens’ commission, comprised of 15 members, to perform research and give advice on a constitutional amendment that would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision. The proposed amendment would then have to be endorsed by at least three quarters of US states.
- Anti-discrimination for transgender residents
In this case, a “no” vote would change an already-existing law, which was passed in 2016. The current legislature prohibits places providing public accommodation, such as restaurants, retail stores, and public bathrooms, from refusing to accommodate transgender individuals. Those in support of the “no” vote are concerned that anyone can enter a restroom or other space that is designated for the opposite gender; supporters of the “yes” position claim that there has not been a single incident of inappropriate conduct or privacy invasion due to the law.