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New Laws Possible in Massachusetts - Proponents Set Sights on 2022 Ballot

Those seeking to amend Massachusetts law or the Massachusetts Constitution through the state’s unique ballot initiative process had until Wednesday, August 4, 2021 to file their proposals with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.  By the time the deadline was reached, 30 proposals were filed.  See below for a list of the proposals and an explanation of the process going forward.

Initiative Petition 20-01: PassMass Amendment

Initiative Petition 21-01: Felony to Target Another’s Ability to Make a Living Due to Postings on Social Media

Initiative Petition 21-02: Ban Smoking in Multi-Living Units

Initiative Petition 21-03: 21st Century Alcohol Retail Reform

Initiative Petition 21-04: Voter Identification Requirement in Massachusetts

Initiative Petition 21-05: Preserve the Lives of Children Born Alive

Initiative Petition 21-06: Hospital CEO Financial Transparency

Initiative Petition 21-07: Limit Excessive Hospital Operative Margins through Greater Financial Transparency

Initiative Petition 21-08: Limit Excessive Hospital Operative Margins and Maintain Essential Health

Initiative Petition 21-09: Presentation of Identification to Vote (Version A)

Initiative Petition 21-10: Hand-Counted Plain Paper Ballots

Initiative Petition 21-11: Defining and Regulating the Relationship Between TNCs and App-Based Drivers (Version A)

Initiative Petition 21-12: Defining and Regulation the Relationship Between TNCs and App-Based Drivers (Version B)

Initiative Petition 21-13: Medical Loss Ratios for Dental Benefit Plans

Initiative Petition 21-14: Regulation and Sale of Consumer Fireworks

Initiative Petition 21-15: Hate Crimes

Initiative Petition 21-16: Public Knowledge of Conflicts of Interest of Government Officers and Candidates Thereof

Initiative Petition 21-17: Whale Safe Fishing Act

Initiative Petition 21-18: Preserving Consumer Access to Gasoline and Other Motor Fuels

Initiative Petition 21-19: Education Massachusetts’ Youth on Our Nation’s History

Initiative Petition 21-20: “Happy Hour” Practices Permitted by Licensees

Initiative Petition 21-21: Presentation of Identification to Vote (Version B)

Initiative Petition 21-22: Presentation of Identification to Vote (Version C)

Initiative Petition 21-23: Public Disclosures by Certain Corporate Taxpayers

Initiative Petition 21-24: Right to Counsel in Eviction Proceedings

Initiative Petition 21-25: Zero Emission Vehicles, Zero Emission Home Heating Systems, and Home Solar Powered Electricity (Version A)

Initiative Petition 21-26: Zero Emission Vehicles, Zero Emission Home Heating Systems, and Home Solar Powered Electricity (Version D)

Initiative Petition 21-27: Zero Emission Vehicles, Zero Emission Home Heating Systems, and Home Solar Powered Electricity (Version B)

Initiative Petition 21-28: Zero Emission Vehicles, Zero Emission Home Heating Systems, and Home Solar Powered Electricity (Version C)

Initiative Petition 21-29: No-Excuse Absentee Voting

Initiative Petition 21-30: Election Transparency Voting

While the filing of the petition marks a significant milestone, the initiative petition process has many hurdles that the proponents of the petitions must clear before any one petition makes it onto the 2022 ballot.  By way of background, in 2019, 16 initiative petitions were submitted for consideration but ultimately only 2 petitions were on the 2020 ballot.

The following is a brief summary of the steps that now must be taken in order for an initiative petition to make it on to the 2022 ballot:

  • By the first Wednesday in September, the Attorney General will review each initiative petition in order to confirm that the petition passes certain state constitutional requirements;
  • If the Attorney General certifies a particular petition, then the proponents of that petition must collect 80,239 signatures from Massachusetts registered voters by November 17, 2021;
  • If enough signatures are collected, then in January 2022 the petition is filed with the Massachusetts Legislature.  At this point, the legislature can debate the merits of the proposal and pass it, or it can substitute its own proposal for the petition, or it can take no action.  In the event that the legislature fails to take action on a particular petition, then the proponents of the petition can advance the petition by collecting an additional 13,374 signatures to force the matter on to the state’s 2022 ballot.

In the event that you have further questions about the proposed initiatives or about the initiative petition process, do not hesitate to reach out to an ML Strategies professional who will be happy to assist you.

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Steven A. Baddour

ML Strategies - Executive Vice President & Director of Operations

Steve's government relations practice focuses on advising clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies on a wide range of issues at the state and federal levels. As part of Mintz's Litigation Practice, Steve represents public and private sector clients in complex civil litigation matters.

Daniel J. Connelly

ML Strategies - Senior Vice President and Compliance Officer

Dan represents trade associations and businesses across industries with interests before the executive, legislative, regulatory, and municipal areas of government throughout New England.

Caitlin Beresin

Kaitlyn Sprague

Taylor C. Shepherd

Director of Government Relations

Taylor C. Shepherd is a Manager of Government Relations at ML Strategies. Prior to joining ML Strategies, Taylor worked as a budget analyst at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.