Major signature hurdle cleared by seven ballot question campaigns


STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, DEC. 18, 2015......Secretary of State William Galvin announced late Friday that his office has certified that seven initiative petition campaigns submitted a sufficient number of signatures and their proposals will be sent to the Legislature for consideration, moving the initiatives one step closer to the ballot. In addition to a constitutional amendment seeking to impose an additional tax on incomes above $1 million, the six questions deal with expanded gaming, charter schools, Common Core education standards, protection of farm animals, recreational marijuana and health care pricing.

The farm animal protection proposal collected the most certified signatures (95,817), followed by the so-called millionaire's tax (92,617), the Common Core repeal (76,016), expanded gaming (74,521), marijuana legalization (70,739), charter school access (70,716) and fair health care pricing (68,755), according to Galvin's office. The campaigns needed at least 64,750 certified signatures.

Once the certified petitions are presented to the House clerk, they will be assigned to committees for review and public hearings. If lawmakers fail to act on the proposals by May 3, campaigns must collect another 10,792 signatures by July 6 in order to secure ballot access in November 2016. The constitutional amendment initiative must be acted upon by two joint sessions of the Legislature before it could appear on the 2018 statewide ballot.