Ballot Measures by Type of Question


Legislative Constitutional Amendment

Initiative Petition for a Constitutional Amendment

Initiative Petition for a Law

Advisory Question

Referendum Petition
on an Existing Law

U.S. Constitutional Amendment (Advisory)

1919 • Rearrangement of Constitution (similar to constitutional amendment) • Interest and dividends on saving deposits in banks
1920 • Definition beer, cider, et al as nonintoxicating
1922 • Roll calls in General Court on adoption of emergency preamble • Tort liability of certain voluntary associations
• Censorship of motion pictures
• Prohibition (“Baby Volstead” Act)
• Lawyer only to be District Attorneys
1924 • Qualifications of voters for certain state offices
• Enabling women to hold any state, county or municipal office
• Daylight savings
• Prohibition to manufacture or transport certain beverages (“Baby Volstead” Act)
• Excise tax on gas and other fuel
• Regulation of foreign banking
• Child labor
1926 • Establishing town governments which provide town meetings • Modifying veterans’ preference law
1928 • Authorizing certain Sunday sporting events
1930 • Apportionment of senatorial, representative and councillor districts • Repeal Prohibition
• Regulation of trapping
1932 • Legalizing practice of chiropractics
• Regulating nominating procedures
• Fixing the commencement of terms of president and vice president
1934 • Regulation of trapping
1936 No statewide ballot measures.
1938 • Providing biennial sessions of the General Court and a biennial budget • Free public taxicab stands in cities and towns
1940 No statewide ballot measures.
1942 • Revision of birth control law
1944 • Fair, concise summary of each ballot question sent to voters instead of description of each question (“Information for Voters”)
• Pardoning of felonious offenses
• Restoring annual sessions of General Court and annual budget
• Absentee voting because of physical disability
• Authorizing certain games of chance to be conducted by certain nonprofit organizations
1946 • Pensions paid by Commonwealth to citizens 65 years of age or older in need of relief or support
• Labor unions must file with the commissioner of labor and industries
1948 • “The right of free speech shall not be abridged.”
• Use of certain revenues for highway purposes only
• Election of certain constitutional offices in case of failures to elect them or death prior to assuming office
• Birth control advertising
• Membership or nonmembership in labor organization as it relates to retaining or obtaining employment
• Elections of officers of labor organizations must be held annually
• Calling of strike by labor organization dependent on majority vote of members
• No person shall be elected president more than twice.
1950 • Gubernatorial succession prior to inauguration
• Changes in number of voters’ signatures required for petitions and changes in legislative procedures relating to such petitions
• Payments to blind persons 63 years of age and older
• Creation of Massachusetts commission to conduct monthly lottery
• Commissioner of insurance establishing classification of risks re: motor vehicle liability policies or bonds
1952 No statewide ballot measures.
1954 No statewide ballot measures.
1956 No statewide ballot measures.
1958 • Former public employees refunding portions of pensions depending upon yearly earnings
1960 No statewide ballot measures.
1962 • Graduated income tax • Increasing the compensation and allowances of state legislators
1964 • Four year term for constitutional officers
• Filling of vacant offices in event of enemy attack
• Credit of Commonwealth given, loaned or pledged by 2/3 vote of each branch of legislature
• Governor and Executive Council require opinions of justices of Supreme Judicial Court on questions of law
• Eliminating statutory authority of the Governor’s Council • Increasing the compensation and allowances of state legislators
1966 • Governor and lieutenant governor run as a team
• Reorganization of executive department
• Providing for municipal industrial development
• Home rule for cities/towns
• Temporary tax and establishing the local aid fund • Sales tax referendum
1968 • Extends to 10 days time in which governor may act upon legislation
• Graduated income tax
• Determining gubernatorial disability
• Alcoholic beverage question was on the ballot in every city and town
• Calling of a constitutional convention (SJC ruled constitutional convention could not be called by initiative petition for a law.) • Shall Massachusetts retain capital punishment?
1970 • Classification of real property according to its use
• Reducing residency requirement for voting
• Reducing the voting age to 19
• Redivision of representative and senatorial districts
• United States action in Vietnam (multiple choice question)
1972 • Taxation of agricultural and horticultural land
• Reducing the voting age to 18
• Removing the prohibition against paupers voting
• Student loans from the Commonwealth
• Establishing the right of the people to a clean environment
• Graduated income tax based on federal income tax
• Retirement of judges at age 70
• Lower drinking age
• Prayer in schools
1974 • Recess by General Court
• House membership cut from 240 to 160
• Grants in aid to higher education
• Highway tax use for mass transit • Establishing an independent Corrupt Practices Commission • Health plan
1976 • Equal rights
• Graduated income tax rates
• Absentee voting for religious reasons
• Mass. power authority
• Ban on handguns (Legislative substitute question disallowed by SJC)
• Control bottles and cans
• Uniform electric rates
• Construction of an oil refinery and deep water port
• Sunday closing laws
1978 • Classification amendment
• State budget deadline
• “Information for Voters” to each residence
• Residence standards for state census
• Charter commission deadline
• Student assignments in public schools
• Taxation of land used for recreation or left in a natural state
1980 • Prohibit discrimination against handicapped persons
• Would restrict state authority to place certain costs on cities and towns
• Would change legislative voting procedure for emergency laws
• Limiting local taxes
(Prop 2 1/2) • Limiting state and local taxes; increase state share of education costs
• Would increase salaries of certain state officials
1982 • State aid to nonpublic school students and certain institutions
• Death penalty
• Restricting low level radioactive waste disposal in nuclear power plant construction • Regulating bottles and cans
1984 No statewide ballot measures.
1986 • Allow legislature to prohibit or regulate abortions
• Allow public funds for private schools and students
• Repeal the surtax
• Would require DEQE to identify hazardous waste sites
• Mail in voter registration
• Urges Congress to enact a national health care program
• Urges president and Congress to adopt a national acid rain program
• Existing law required the use of seat belts
1988 • Repeal the prevailing wage
• Regulate treatment of farm animals
• Stop electric power plants that produce nuclear waste materials.
• Would repeal law that authorized a pay raise for legislators and constitutional officers
1990 • Repeal state census • Limit state use of consultants
• Changes income tax rate; regulates state agencies’ fees
• Changes law governing establishment of political parties and nomination of candidates
• Regulates local aid fund
• Free and equal radio and television time for candidates
1992 • Create Health Protection Fund for education regarding the use of tobacco
• Make certain corporate tax information is made available to the public
• All packaging to be recycled or recyclable
• Tax on hazardous materials
1994 • Graduated income tax • Regulating spending on ballot question campaigns
• Term limits
• Opening of retail stores on Sunday morning and certain holidays
• Personal income tax changes
• State Highway Fund changes
• Prohibiting rent control
• Seat belt law • Changing the law regarding student fees
1996 • Changing the trapping and hunting laws
1998 • Setting compensation for state legislators • Public campaign financing
• Tax rate on interest and dividend income
• Electric utility industry restructuring
2000 • Earlier Redistricting for State Legislators and Governor’s Councillors
• Voting By Incarcerated Felons
• Dog Racing
• Income Tax Rate Reduction
• Health Insurance and Health Care
• Tax Credit for Tolls and Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes
• Tax Deduction for Charitable Contributions
• Drug-Dependency Treatment and Drug-Crime Fines and Forfeitures
2002 • Eliminating State Personal Income Tax
• English Language Education in Public Schools
• Taxpayer Funding for Political Campaigns
2004 No statewide ballot measures.
2006 • Sale of Wine by Food Stores
• Nomination of Candidates for Public Office
• Family Child Care Providers
2008 • State Personal Income Tax
• Possession of Marijuana
• Dog Racing
2010 • Sales Tax on Alcoholic Beverages
• Comprehensive Permits for Low-or-Moderate-Income Housing
• Sales and Use Tax Rates
2012 • Availability of Motor Vehicle Repair Information
• Prescribing Medication to End Life
• Medical Use of Marijuana
2014 • Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing
• Expanding the Beverage Container Deposit Law
• Expanding Prohibitions on Gaming
• Earned Sick Time for Employees
2016 • Expanding Slot-Machine Gaming
• Charter School Expansion
• Expanding Prohibitions on Gaming
• Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana