Election 2016: the MA ballot questions - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Election 2016: the MA ballot questions

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

There are no major races statewide in Massachusetts, so the focus has been on the four major ballot questions.

There’s been a lot of debate on all four and in some cases, the back and forth rhetoric can be confusing.

Here is a breakdown of the four statewide questions, as well as what Yes vote and a No vote would mean.

QUESTION 1

The question asks voters if they approve of a law allowing a second slots parlor to exist in Massachusetts.

  • A YES VOTE would permit the state Gaming Commission to license one additional slot-machine gaming establishment at a location that meets certain conditions specified in the law.
  • A NO VOTE would make no change in current laws regarding gaming.

QUESTION 2

The question asks voters if they approve of a law allowing state education officials to approve up to 12 new charter schools a year or expand enrollment in existing charter schools.

  • A YES VOTE would allow for up to 12 approvals each year of either new charter schools or expanded enrollments in existing charter schools, but not to exceed 1% of the statewide public school enrollment.
  • A NO VOTE would make no change in current laws relative to charter schools.

QUESTION 3

The question asks voters if they approve of a law that would phase out what advocates say are extreme methods of farm animal confinement.

  • A YES VOTE would prohibit any confinement of pigs, calves, and hens that prevents them from lying down, standing up, fully extending their limbs, or turning around freely.
  • A NO VOTE would make no change in current laws relative to the keeping of farm animals.

QUESTION 4

The question asks voters if they approve a law that would take effect on December 15, 2016 that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

  • A YES VOTE would allow persons 21 and older to possess, use, and transfer marijuana and products containing marijuana concentrate (including edible products) and to cultivate marijuana, all in limited amounts, and would provide for the regulation and taxation of commercial sale of marijuana and marijuana products.
  • A NO VOTE would make no change in current laws relative to marijuana.

Some communities will have local questions on their ballots:

QUESTION 5

Question 5 in Holyoke, Palmer, South Hadley, Pittsfield, and Springfield is whether or not to adopt the Community Preservation Act. The state law creates a dedicated funding source for such things as affordable housing, preservation of open space for parks and recreation, and restoration of historic buildings.

Taxpayers in cities and towns that opt in to the CPA pay a surcharge of up to 3% on their property tax bills. More than 160 communities have adopted it so far.

The question reads:

"Shall the city/town approve the Community Preservation Act, establish a dedicated funding source to enable the city/town to acquire and preserve open space, which includes land for park and recreational uses and the protection of public drinking water well fields, aquifers and recharge areas, wetlands, farm land, forests, marshes, beaches, scenic areas, wildlife preserves and other conservation areas, acquire and restore historic buildings and sites, and create affordable housing."

"The funding source for these community preservation purposes will be a surcharge of up to 3% on the annual property tax assessed on real property commencing in fiscal year 2016."

  • A YES VOTE would adopt the Community Preservation Act.
  • A NO VOTE would reject the Community Preservation Act.

Question 5 in Amherst asks voters to approve a Proposition 2-and-a-half override.  If approved, the override would fund the town’s portion of  a new building that will house 750 students in grades two through six in two co-located schools, which would replace Wildwood and Fort River schools.  The town is expected to pay $32.75 million, with the Massachusetts School Building Authority pledging $34.45 million.

Question 5 in Hatfield will ask voters if the town should be allowed to exempt from the provisions of Proposition two-and-a-half to borrow $1 million to pay for the second phase of Town Hall renovations, including an exterior ramp, an elevator, and a fire suppression system to bring the building up to code compliance

QUESTION 6

Question 6 in Amherst, Pelham and North Granby (the 3rd Hampshire district) is a non-binding question to gauge public opinion on lowering the drinking age for beer and wine to 19. 

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