Ballot Questions Filed for Consideration in 2020, 2022

Sixteen initiative petitions were filed Wednesday with Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, officially kicking off the process to place questions before the voters in November 2020. Thirteen of the petitions propose new laws to be considered on the 2020 ballot, while three are proposed amendments to the state constitution, which would not be considered until 2022. All of the petitions are available here.

Among the questions filed were proposals to update the 2013 Motor Vehicle Right to Repair law, a proposal to implement Ranked-Choice voting, and a proposal to expand the sale of beer and wine by food stores. The filings to amend the state constitution face a longer process that would ultimately place those questions on the statewide ballot in 2022. Included among them was a proposal to restore the right to vote to prisoners convicted of a felony, and to prohibit public funding of abortions.

The path to put a question on the ballot is long, uncertain and costly. Filing a petition is the first step in the process leading to the 2020 ballot. The AG will review the petitions and certify that they meet certain constitutional requirements. Once certified by the AG, proponents then must gather and submit 80,239 signatures of registered voters to local town clerks and the Secretary of State by December 4th, 2019. Questions that make it that far then move to the Legislature, where they can be approved and passed into law, substituted or ignored by May 2020. Often ignored, proponents of questions are then required to collect an additional 13,374 signatures by early July to receive final approval to appear on the ballot in November 2020. Proposed constitutional amendments must first meet the signature thresholds, then must be voted on by two successive sessions of the Legislature, receiving at least 25% of the vote in each session, before being placed on the ballot in November of 2022.

The following certified petitions are of most interest to the employer community:

  • 19-06 Initiative Law to Enhance, Update and Protect the 2013 Motor Vehicle Right to Repair Law
  • 19-08 Initiative Petition Relative to Political Spending by Non-Residents of Massachusetts
  • 19-10 Initiative Petition for a Law to Implement Ranked-Choice Voting in Elections
  • 19-11 An Act Establishing Adequate Funding for Residents of Massachusetts Nursing Homes
  • 19-12 Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to Primary Elections
  • 19-14 Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to the Sale of Beer and Wine by Food Stores

The update to the Right to Repair law will be an important campaign for many of our auto service members and auto parts sellers. RAM was a strong supporter of the original Right to Repair Coalition and expects to be once again in round two. We are also reviewing the beer and wine permit expansion proposal and will closely monitor the issue as the certification process unfolds.