Ballot Measures by Type of Question

Year

Legislative Constitutional Amendment

Initiative Petition for a Constitutional Amendment

Initiative Petition for a Law

Legislative
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 21/2)

• 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 pro- hibit 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