Thursday, January 9, 2020

Initiative Petitions And The 2020 Ballot

Today, the Senate took action on two of four questions likely to be placed before voters at the November 3 election. We voted to direct the initiatives, the Massachusetts Right to Repair and The Massachusetts Beer and Wine in Food Stores, to the relevant legislative committee.

Before a question can be placed on a state-wide ballot proponents must first submit a requisite number of signatures from registered voters and have the Secretary of State affirm the amount has been met. In addition, the item must be determined ‘Constitutional’ by the state’s Attorney General. The Right to Repair question seeks to update a 2012 law that empowers consumers to have repairs and service performed by independent repair shops. Proponents of the new question wish to expand the law to also include wireless technology and vehicle monitoring technology that uses GPS system and on-board diagnostics information.

The other measure, known as the Beer and Wine in Food Stores Initiative, would allow retail stores whose primary business is selling food for consumption off the premises to sell malt beverages and wine - but not spirits. Cities and towns would decide the number of store licenses to issue. If the House and Senate have not acted on these petitions by May 5th, question sponsors must collect an additional 13,000 signatures to place their questions on the 2020 ballot.