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U.S. Senate Candidates - MA

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Statewide Ballot Measures - MA

Question 1 - An Act Relative to Expanded Gaming

Would allow the state Gaming Commission to issue one additional category 2 license, which would permit operation of a gaming establishment with no table games and not more than 1,250 slot machines. The proposed law would authorize the commission to request applications for the additional license to be granted to a gaming establishment located on property that is at least four acres in size; adjacent to and within 1,500 feet of a race track, including the track's additional facilities, such as the track, grounds, paddocks, barns, auditorium, amphitheatre, and bleachers; where a horse racing meeting may physically be held; where a horse racing meeting would have been hosted; and not separated from the race track by a highway or railway.

Question 2 - An Act to Allow Fair Access to Public Charter Schools

Would allow the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to approve up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools each year. Approvals under the law could expand statewide charter school enrollment by up to 1 percent of the total statewide public school enrollment each year. New charters and enrollment expansions approved under the law would be exempt from existing limits on the number of charter schools, the number of students enrolled in them, and the amount of local school districts' spending allocated to them. If the Board received more than 12 applications in a single year from qualified applicants, then the proposed law would require it to give priority to proposed charter schools or enrollment expansions in districts where student performance on statewide assessments is in the bottom 25 percent of all districts in the previous two years and where demonstrated parent demand for additional public school options is greatest. New charter schools and enrollment expansions approved under the proposed law would be subject to the same approval standards as other charter schools, and to recruitment, retention, and multilingual outreach requirements that currently apply to some charter schools. Schools authorized under the law would be subject to annual performance reviews according to standards established by the board.

Question 3 - An Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals

Would prohibit any farm owner or operator from knowingly confining any breeding pig, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely. The proposed law also would prohibit any business owner or operator in Massachusetts from selling whole eggs intended for human consumption or any uncooked cut of veal or pork if the business owner or operator knows or should know that the hen, breeding pig, or veal calf that produced these products was confined in a manner prohibited by the proposed law. It would exempt sales of food products that combine veal or pork with other products, including soups, sandwiches, pizzas, hotdogs, or similar processed or prepared food items. The proposed law's confinement prohibitions would not apply during transportation; state and county fair exhibitions; 4-H programs; slaughter in compliance with applicable laws and regulations; medical research; veterinary exams, testing, treatment and operation if performed under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian; five days prior to a pregnant pig's expected date of giving birth; any day that pig is nursing piglets; and for temporary periods for animal husbandry purposes not to exceed six hours in any twenty-four hour period. The proposed law would create a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation and would give the Attorney General the exclusive authority to enforce the law, and to issue regulations to implement it. As a defense to enforcement proceedings, the proposed law would allow a business owner or operator to rely in good faith upon a written certification or guarantee of compliance by a supplier. The proposed law would be in addition to any other animal welfare laws and would not prohibit stricter local laws.

Question 4 - The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act

Would permit the possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts by persons age 21 and older and would remove criminal penalties for such activities. It would provide for the regulation of commerce in marijuana, marijuana accessories, and marijuana products and for the taxation of proceeds from sales of these items. The proposed law would authorize persons at least 21 years old to possess up to one ounce of marijuana outside of their residences; possess up to ten ounces of marijuana inside their residences; grow up to six marijuana plants in their residences; give one ounce or less of marijuana to a person at least 21 years old without payment; possess, produce or transfer hemp; or make or transfer items related to marijuana use, storage, cultivation, or processing. The measure would create a Cannabis Control Commission consisting of three members appointed by the state treasurer which would generally administer the law governing marijuana use and distribution, promulgate regulations, and be responsible for the licensing of marijuana commercial establishments. The proposed law would also create a Cannabis Advisory Board of fifteen members appointed by the governor. The Cannabis Control Commission would adopt regulations governing licensing qualifications; security; record keeping; health and safety standards; packaging and labeling; testing; advertising and displays; required inspections; and such other matters as the Commission considers appropriate. The records of the commission would be public. The proposed law would authorize cities and towns to adopt reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of operating marijuana businesses and to limit the number of marijuana establishments in their communities. A city or town could hold a local vote to determine whether to permit the selling of marijuana and marijuana products for consumption on the premises at commercial establishments. The proceeds of retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products would be subject to the state sales tax and an additional excise tax of 3.75 percent. A city or town could impose a separate tax of up to 2 percent. Revenue received from the additional state excise tax or from license application fees and civil penalties for violations of this law would be deposited in a Marijuana Regulation Fund and would be used subject to appropriation for administration of the proposed law. Marijuana-related activities authorized under this proposed law could not be a basis for adverse orders in child welfare cases absent clear and convincing evidence that the activities had created an unreasonable danger to the safety of a minor child. The proposed law would not affect existing law regarding medical marijuana treatment centers or the operation of motor vehicles while under the influence. It would permit property owners to prohibit the use, sale, or production of marijuana on their premises (with an exception that landlords cannot prohibit consumption by tenants of marijuana by means other than by smoking); and would permit employers to prohibit the consumption of marijuana by employees in the workplace. State and local governments could continue to restrict uses in public buildings or at or near schools. Supplying marijuana to persons under age 21 would be unlawful.

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