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Abortion, racism issues, marijuana, gambling among state ballot measures

NASHVILLE (BP) – More than 100 statewide measures are on ballots in 32 states Tuesday (Nov. 3), addressing issues including abortion, racial discrimination and sensitivity, gun use, medical and recreational marijuana, and sports and charitable betting.

The most restrictive abortion measure on the ballot is Louisiana Amendment 1, which asks voters to “protect human life” by proclaiming “nothing in present constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion,” according to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office. Colorado Proposition 115 would ban abortions past 22 weeks, except to save the life of the mother. Colorado is one of six states and Washington D.C. that do not restrict abortion after a certain point in pregnancy, according to ballotpedia.com.

Churches in Alabama’s Franklin and Lauderdale counties are asking voters to approve constitutional amendments that would allow individuals to “stand their ground” and “use deadly force” to defend themselves or others in churches.

Montana’s ballot has a measure to limit local governmental authority to regulate firearms.

Mississippi voters will decide whether to replace the state flag with a design that does not include the Confederate battle symbol. The statewide vote is required after the Mississippi Legislature voted in June to retire the flag adopted in 1894. Voters are being asked to adopt a new design approved by a nine-member commission that includes the words, “In God We Trust.”

In other issues dealing with race, according to ballotpedia:

  • Alabama Amendment 4 asks voters to authorize constitutional revisions including the removal of unenforceable language that mandates separate schools for “white and colored.”
  • Rhode Island Question 1, in a state legislature referred matter, would change the official name of the state from “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” to Rhode Island, deleting the plantation reference.
  • Measures in Nebraska and Utah would remove from the state constitutions slavery as an acceptable punishment for crime.

In gender and sexual preference issues, Nevada is asking voters to amend the state constitution to recognize gay marriage, and Utah Constitutional Amendment A would remove gender-specific language from the state constitution, replacing such terms as “all men” with terms like “all persons,” according to VoteInfo.Utah.gov.

About 10 measures deal with the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana, tobacco and E-cigarettes, drug addiction and psychedelic mushrooms:

  • Marijuana legalization measures are on the ballot in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota, and medical marijuana initiatives are on ballots in Mississippi and South Dakota.
  • Oregon Measure 109 would “permit licensed service providers to administer psilocybin-producing mushroom and fungi products (psychedelic mushrooms) to individuals 21 years of age or older.”

Gambling measures are before voters in Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska and South Dakota, including racetrack betting, gaming, sports betting and charitable bingo and raffles.

Other measures of note impact stem cell research in California, payday lending in Nebraska and sex education in Washington State public schools.