In addition to Donald Trump beating his rival Hillary Clinton for the presidency in Tuesday’s 2016 general election, along with the GOP having a winning night in the Senate and House races, other initiatives – including ones on capital punishment, gun control, the legalization of marijuana, Euthanasia, universal healthcare and minimum wages – were weighed in by voters in several states.
States taking center stage on key issues Tuesday night included Nebraska, Oklahoma and California on the death penalty; California, Washington state, Maine and Nevada on gun control; California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Arkansas, Arizona, Maine, Florida and North Dakota on the legalization of pot; Colorado on euthanasia and universal healthcare and; Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington state on minimum wages.
When voting on the punishment of murderous criminals in Nebraska, voters decided to reinstate its death penalty, which essentially reversed last year’s decision by the State Legislature that repealed capital punishment. Since 1997, not one inmate has been executed in the Cornhusker State, but with 10 men currently on death row – that statistic can change in the near future.
With two competing measures on their ballot, Californians voted to repeal their rarely used death penalty, but also cast their ballots to speed up appeals so that convicted murderers are actually executed.
In Oklahoma, voters approved a measure at the ballot box so that it is now harder to abolish the death penalty in the state. State officials advocating capital punishment wanted to ensure that the state has a legal path to execute prisoners – even if a given method to kill the convicted criminal is blocked in the Sooner State.
One of the four states voting on gun control Tuesday night was California – which already had some of the strictest gun laws in the country.
“Voters there approved a measure that will outlaw possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, require permits to buy ammunition and extend California’s unique program that allows authorities to seize firearms from owners who bought guns legally but are no longer allowed to own them,” The Associate Press (AP) reported.
Next on the list is Washington state, which said “Yes” to a ballot measure that will permit judges to issue orders that temporarily seize firearms from gun owners who state officials consider to be a threat.
Meanwhile, in Nevada and Maine – where a group founded by the former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, launched campaigns costing millions of dollars to promote ballot measures to make background checks mandatory for virtually all sales and transfers of guns – things were tight. By the latest count, those voting “Yes” in Nevada outweighed “No” votes 51 to 49 percent. In Maine, those voting “No” outnumbered “Yes” votes 52 to 48 percent. As of early Wednesday morning, AP reported that both contests were “too close to call.”
A handful of states voted Tuesday on the recreational and medical use of marijuana.
As many are pushing to legalize marijuana use nationwide, California, Massachusetts and Nevada all voted to legalize its recreational use. Five states already legalized pot for recreational use prior to the election, including Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia.
One progressive voter agreeing with the outcome on the ballot, 53-year-old Daria Ewin of San Francisco, California, voted for the legalization of marijuana, sensing a national trend.
“It’s already passed in other states,” Daria told The Associated Press. “I’m surprised California wasn’t one of the first.”
On the other hand, one lifelong Republican voter, 86-year-old Joanne Hsu of Walnut Creek, California, voted “No” on legalizing the drug and filled in her ballot for Donald Trump as president – both of which lost their contests in the Golden State.
“I’m against it because you’re going to get more and more problems if you legalize it,” Hsu stressed to AP.
California, which became the first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana two decades ago, saw 71 percent of Floridians approve its medical use throughout the Sunshine State. Arkansas became the first state in the South to allow pot for medicinal purposes, while Arizona, Maine and North Dakota voted for to legalize it for that reason, as well. There are 25 states in America that allow medical marijuana.
Euthanasia and healthcare
A measure to legalze the lethal practice of Euthanasia – also known as assisted suicide or so-called “mercy killing” – was approved by Colorado voters Tuesday, so that doctors can assist the death of terminally ill individuals. Five other states have already legalized this procedure, including Oregon.
Also in the Centennial State, voters said “No” to a proposal that would have made Coloradans the first in the country to set up a universal healthcare system.
Not-so minimum wage
With the federal minimum wage currently at $7.25, voters in four states voted to give wage earners a substantial boost.
“Arizona, Colorado and Maine voters approved measures phasing in $12 minimum hourly wages by 2020,” AP announced. “In Washington state, where the minimum wage is $9.47 an hour, voters approved a measure raising that to $13.50 an hour by 2020.”