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State Chart of Initiatives and Referendums

Cynthia Allen (initially created); updated by Rebecca F. Wisch


Animal Legal & Historical Center
Publish Date:
2002; updated 2009
Place of Publication: Michigan State College of Law
Printable Version

State Chart of Initiatives and Referendums

 

 

 

State

 

Referendum Process

 

Animal Law Referendums

 

Critical Referendums of the Past 5 Years

 

Alabama

No initiative or referendum process.

 

 

Alaska

Initiative petition may be filed at any time--Lt. Gov. prepares ballot title & proposition summarizing the proposed law & place on the ballot for the 1st statewide election held more than 120 days after adjournment of legislative session following adjournment (see AK Const. Art. 11, sec. 4).

Nov. 1998 referendum to prohibit trapping wolves with snares failed 61% to 39% [link to wolf trapping referendum].

 

AK - Based on 1998 initiative, attempt made to put up constitutional restrictions to wildlife initiatives (defeated in 2000 by 65%) [link to wildlife initiative proposal].

 

1998 ballot measure ("6") would allow hunters to fly into an area where the AK Game Board est. a wolf control program, and on the same day, land and shoot a wolf; would allow hunting and shooting of wolves w/ordinary hunting and trapping license & no special permit required--YES vote rejected law and NO vote approves the law--passed 53% to 47% [link to aerial wolf shooting ballot measure]

 

AK – 2004 Ballot Measure 3 - This Alaska ballot measure was defeated in the November 2004 election by an 18% margin.  It would have made it illegal for a person to bait or intentionally feed a bear for purposes of hunting, viewing, or photographing the bear.  A person who violated this proposed law would have been guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one-year imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

AK - 2008 - 05-HUNT - This measure was an initiated state statute. The measure would have prohibited shooting of a free-ranging wolf, wolverine, or grizzly bear the same day that the person has been airborne.  It was defeated by a margin of 44.4% for the measure and 55.6% against on August 26th. 

AK - 2008 - 05-HUNT - This measure was an initiated state statute. The measure would have prohibited shooting of a free-ranging wolf, wolverine, or grizzly bear the same day that the person has been airborne.  It was defeated by a margin of 44.4% for the measure and 55.6% against on August 26th.

 

AK – 2004 Ballot Measure 3 - This Alaska ballot measure was defeated in the November 2004 election by an 18% margin.  It would have made it illegal for a person to bait or intentionally feed a bear for purposes of hunting, viewing, or photographing the bear.  A person who violated this proposed law would have been guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one-year imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

 

Arizona

Constitutionally allowed by legislature; also allows for initiatives (see A.R.S. Const. Art. 4 Pt. 1 sec. 1).

1994 - Passed anti-trapping initiative similar to OR/WA initiatives of 2000 [link to anti-trapping initiative].

 

Nov. 1998 law would ban cockfighting--passed 68% to 32% [link to cockfighting initiative].

 

AZ – 2000 Proposition 102 - Based on 1994 initiative, attempt made to restrict voter initiatives in re: wildlife, not legislative bills or referrals to the voters (defeated in 2000). 

 

2006 - Proposition 204  prevents the cruel confinement of pregnant pigs and veal calves - passed by a vote of 61 to 39%.

2006 - Proposition 204 prevents the cruel confinement of pregnant pigs and veal calves - passed by a vote of 61 to 39%.

 

AZ – 2000 Proposition 102 - Based on 1994 initiative, attempt made to restrict voter initiatives in re: wildlife, not legislative bills or referrals to the voters (defeated in 2000).

 

Arkansas

Two powers reserved by the people include initiative (where 8% of voters may propose any law and 10% may propose constitutional amendment) and referendum (where no less than 6% of voters may, by petition, order a referendum against any general act or any item of an appropriation bill or passed by the general assembly) (see AR Const. Amend. 7).

Measure 2001-389 (Proposed Initiative Act 1) on ballot in Nov. 2002 would amend AR law concerning cruelty to animals to establish the offense "aggravated cruelty to animals." This measure failed with 38% Yes, and 62% No.  [link to Arkansas Animal Cruelty Act (Proposed Initiative Act 1)].

Measure 2001-389 (Proposed Initiative Act 1) on ballot in Nov. 2002 would amend AR law concerning cruelty to animals to establish the offense "aggravated cruelty to animals."  This measure failed with 38% Yes, and 62% No.  [link to Arkansas Animal Cruelty Act (Proposed Initiative Act 1)].

California

Initiatives are the power of the electors to propose statutes and amendments to the Constitution and to adopt or reject them. Initiative measures are presented to the Sec. of State in a petition that sets out the text of the proposed statute/amendment to the Constitution & signed by electors equal to 5% (statute) or 8% (amendment) of the votes for all candidates for governor during the last election. (see CA Const. Art. 2, sec. 8).

CA - 1998 ballot measure #6 would prohibit any person from transferring, receiving or holding any horse or pony or burro or mule with the intention of killing it or having it killed--passed 51% to 49%.

 

CA - 1998 ballot measure #4 would prohibit trapping mammals classified as fur bearing (or non-game) with body gripping traps for recreation or commerce in fur--passed 58% to 42%.

 

CA - 2008 -Proposition 2 - Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Initiative Statute. This 2008 California initiative measure would add to the Health & Safety Code. The proposed law requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely. It provides misdemeanor penalties, including a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment in jail for up to 180 days and would go into effect on January 1, 2015. 

CA - 2008 -Proposition 2 - Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Initiative Statute. This 2008 California initiative measure would add to the Health & Safety Code. The proposed law requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely. It provides misdemeanor penalties, including a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment in jail for up to 180 days and would go into effect on January 1, 2015.

Colorado

Initiative petitions for state legislation/amendments to the constitution must be filed w/Sec. of State at least 3 months before the general election in which they're to be voted on; referendums are to be against any act or item, section, or part of any act by the general assembly signed by registered electors in the amt. of 5% of the total number of votes cast for all candidates for Sec. of State at prior general election & must be filed no more than 90 days after the final adjournment of the session of the general assembly that passed the bill on which a referendum was demanded (filing of a referendum petition shall not prevent an act from becoming operative) (see CO Const. Art. 5, sec. 1)

CO – 1998 – Amendment 13 – Uniform Regulation of Livestock Operations.  Measure would have established uniform livestock regulations based on the impact to the environment (concern was over concentrated feeding operations).  Creates definition of “livestock” as animals raised for profit.  (Failed).

 

CO – 1998 – Amendment 14 – Regulation of Commercial Hog Facilities.  Would further regulate commercial hog facilities by requiring operators obtain permits for discharge of wastewater, among other things.  Allows local governments to impose stricter regulations for hog farms than in proposal.  (Passed).

 

 

Connecticut

Whenever at any regular or special state/municipal election any vote for approval/disapproval of any constitutional amendment or any question or proposal is taken pursuant to the constitution…(see CT ST sec. 9-369--procedure for holding a referendum); No initiative or referendum process statewide.

 

 

Delaware

No initiative or referendum process.

 

 

District of Columbia

The process beings when a registered voter files a Measure in the Board's Voter Services Office. Once an Initiative or Referendum is filed, the Board publishes it in the DC Register and provides notice of a public meeting to consider whether the subject matter meets the requirements set in the law. After approving the subject matter, the Board prepares the official Short Title and Summary Statement. Once approved, the official language is published in the DC Register, along with the legislative text. The DC Register publication begins a ten day challenge period, during which any registered voter may object to the short title, summary statement, or legislative form in the Superior Court.
http://www.dcboee.org/initiative/guide.shtm.

 

 

Florida

Sponsor of any initiative must, before obtaining any signatures, register as a political committee per s. 106.03 & submit a copy of the proposed amendment to the Sec. of State w/ the form where signatures are to be affixed (see FL ST sec 100.371--though recently updated after all the 2000 presidential election); substance and ballot title of a constitutional amendment proposed by initiative shall be prepared and adopted by the Sec. of State per s. 120.54 (see FL ST sec. 101.161). FL ST 573.109 referendum process for Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Industry.

FL - Proposed petition to FL constitution to prohibit gestation crates making it unlawful to tether or confine a sow to an enclosure during pregnancy in such a way that a sow could not turn around freely.  This measure appears to have passed in the November 2002 election.  [link to cruel confinement of pigs initiative]

FL - Proposed petition to FL constitution to prohibit gestation crates making it unlawful to tether or confine a sow to an enclosure during pregnancy in such a way that a sow could not turn around freely.  This measure appears to have passed in the November 2002 election.  [link to cruel confinement of pigs initiative]

Georgia

No initiative or referendum process on state-wide level.

 2006 - Constitutional Amendment 2 - preserves the state's tradition of hunting and fishing for the public good.  Passed 81 - 19%.

 2006 - Constitutional Amendment 2 - preserves the state's tradition of hunting and fishing for the public good.  Passed 81 - 19%.

Hawaii

No initiative or referendum process.

 

 

Idaho

Initial petition must have 20 signatures from qualified electors; submit to AG for review of language, form, etc. and once approved, to Sec. of State for final review--where petitioner can accept or reject changes made; must have total of 6% of registered voters from last general election and min. of 6% of registered voters in 22 counties; can only circulate petition for 18 months.

 

 

Illinois

Initiative or popular referendum adopted in 1970; initiatives currently allowed by state constitution but popular referendums are not; initiatives only allowed for constitutional amendments—not statutory amendments.

 

 

Indiana

No initiative or referendum process is available.

 

 

Iowa

No initiative or referendum process is available.

 

 

Kansas

No initiative or referendum process is available.

 

 

Kentucky

Initiative/popular referendum process adopted in 1910; popular referendums are available based on constitutional language.

 

 

Louisiana

No initiative or referendum process is available on a state-wide level.

LA – 2004 Constit. Amend. 1 - This ballot measure amended the state constitution after it was resoundingly approved in November of 2004 (by 81% of voters).  The measure was initiated by the state legislature in Senate Bill 2 and was sent to the electors of the state for a vote.  The measure on the official ballot stated that citizens were to vote FOR or AGAINST to amend the Constitution of Louisiana with the following proposition:  "To guarantee the right of every citizen to hunt, fish and trap, subject to regulation, restriction, or prohibition as provided by law. (Adds Article I, 14 Section 27)." 

 

LA – 2004 Constit. Amend. 1 - This ballot measure amended the state constitution after it was resoundingly approved in November of 2004 (by 81% of voters).  The measure was initiated by the state legislature in Senate Bill 2 and was sent to the electors of the state for a vote.  The measure on the official ballot stated that citizens were to vote FOR or AGAINST to amend the Constitution of Louisiana with the following proposition:  "To guarantee the right of every citizen to hunt, fish and trap, subject to regulation, restriction, or prohibition as provided by law. (Adds Article I, 14 Section 27)."  

 

Maine

Electors may propose to the Legislature for its consideration, any bill, resolve, resolution, including bills to amend or repeal emergency legislation…by written petition (see ME Const. Art. 4, Pt. 3, sec. 18) (see also League of Women Voters v. Sec. of State, (1996) ME., 683 A.2d 769, where Supreme Court construed "citizen initiative" provisions of ME constitution liberally in order to facilitate People's exercise of sovereign power to legislate).

ME – 2004 Question 2 - This Maine citizen initiated was defeated in the November 2004 election.  The question posed to voters asked voters, "Do you want to make it a crime to hunt bears with bait, traps or dogs, except to protect property, public safety or for research?"  The initiated bill was to prohibit the use of bait to hunt or attract bear, the use of a dog to hunt or pursue bear and the use or setting of a trap to hunt or capture bear except under certain circumstances.

 

ME – 2004 Question 2 - This Maine citizen initiated was defeated in the November 2004 election.  The question posed to voters asked voters, "Do you want to make it a crime to hunt bears with bait, traps or dogs, except to protect property, public safety or for research?"  The initiated bill was to prohibit the use of bait to hunt or attract bear, the use of a dog to hunt or pursue bear and the use or setting of a trap to hunt or capture bear except under certain circumstances.

 

Maryland

Established popular referendum lang. in constitution in 1915.

 

 

Massachusetts

Petition must include full text of law wanted to be enacted; AG certifies that the measure and title are proper to be submitted to the people--and then petitioners submit it to Sec. of State; number of signatures required must be equal to at least 3% of total votes cast for all candidates for governor at last election (est. 57,000 voters) and no more than one-quarter can come from any one county.

MA - 2000 ballot measure ("Ques. 3") would prohibit dog racing in MA or racing meeting where any form of wagering or betting on the speed or ability of dogs occurs--YES vote would prohibit, NO vote would not make any changes to the current law--failed 49% to 51%.

 

MA - 2008 - Question 3 regarding dog racing -This would prohibit any dog racing or racing meeting where any form of betting or wagering on the speed or ability of dogs occurs. Any person violating the proposed law could be required to pay a civil penalty of not less than $20,000 to the Commission. These changes would take effect January 1, 2010.

MA - 2000 ballot measure ("Ques. 3") would prohibit dog racing in MA or racing meeting where any form of wagering or betting on the speed or ability of dogs occurs--YES vote would prohibit, NO vote would not make any changes to the current law--failed 49% to 51%.

 

MA - 2008 - Question 3 regarding dog racing -This would prohibit any dog racing or racing meeting where any form of betting or wagering on the speed or ability of dogs occurs. Any person violating the proposed law could be required to pay a civil penalty of not less than $20,000 to the Commission. These changes would take effect January 1, 2010.

Michigan

Initiative and popular referendum process adopted via constitution in 1908; both processes allowed; initiatives are allowed for constitutional amendments and statutes (direct for constitutional issues and indirect for statutes).

2006 Proposal 3 to allow dove hunting - defeated by voters - 69 to 31%.

2006 Proposal 3 to allow dove hunting - defeated by voters - 69 to 31%.

  Minnesota

Mississippi

Once proposed initiative lang. is drafted, it must be filed w/Sec. of State (sponsor must be registered voter in MS); takes about 30 days for initiative to be approved and have a ballot title drafter (no more than 20 words); once title and summary are complete, sponsor can begin collecting signatures; 12% of total number of votes cast for governor in last election needed to place initiative on ballot; can only circulate petition for 1 year.

 

 

Missouri

Text w/sample petition submitted to Sec. of State for review; AG gives final approval & then its sent to State Auditor for financial impact statement; once completed, then petition can be circulated; for statute, signatures must equal 5% of votes cast for governor in 6 of 9 congressional districts during last election; for constitutional amendment, 8% (est. 76,000 signatures for statute).

MO - 1998 ballot measure ("A") would make it a felony to bait or fight animals--passed 63% to 37%.

 

 

Montana

1972—directly initiated constitutional amendments allowed; initial referendum/initiative process established in 1904; for constitutional amendments and state law proposals, both are direct process,

MT - Nov. 2000 initiative ("I-143") would prohibit all new alternative livestock ranches (i.e. game farms); existing farms could continue but licenses couldn't be transferred to anyone else--passed 52% to 48%.  (Now codified at Mont. Code Ann. § 87-4-407 (2000). The proponents argued that canned hunts and game ranches are unethical, that they promote disease transmission to native wildlife populations, and that they fracture wildlife habitat.  (Proponents - MADCOW (Montanans Against the Domestication and Commercialization of Wildlife)).

 

MT - 2004 "C-41" - This Montana ballot proposal was overwhelming approved in the November 2004 election by 81% of voters.  It provides a constitutional amendment that recognizes and preserves the right of Montana's citizens to harvest wild fish and wild game animals, thereby preserving the heritage of Montana.

 

MT - Nov. 2000 initiative ("I-143") would prohibit all new alternative livestock ranches (i.e. game farms); existing farms could continue but licenses couldn't be transferred to anyone else--passed 52% to 48%.  (Now codified at Mont. Code Ann. § 87-4-407 (2000). The proponents argued that canned hunts and game ranches are unethical, that they promote disease transmission to native wildlife populations, and that they fracture wildlife habitat.  (Proponents - MADCOW (Montanans Against the Domestication and Commercialization of Wildlife)).

 

MT - 2004 "C-41" - This Montana ballot proposal was overwhelming approved in the November 2004 election by 81% of voters.  It provides a constitutional amendment that recognizes and preserves the right of Montana's citizens to harvest wild fish and wild game animals, thereby preserving the heritage of Montana.

 

 

Nebraska

Must submit language wanted to see in statute/constitution and what the proposal will accomplish; must include a list of sponsors; sent to Sec. of State for review of language--about a 10 day process; 7% of voters' signatures required for statute, 10% for amendment, 5% for referendum but 10% for referendum that suspends law taking effect (approx. 76,000 for statute and 107,000 for amendment).

 

 

Nevada

Established in 1905.

 

 

New Hampshire

No initiative or referendum process on state-wide level.

 

 

New Jersey

No initiative or referendum process on state-wide level.

 

 

New Mexico

Established in 1911.

 

 

New York

No initiative or referendum process on state-wide level.

 

 

North Carolina

No initiative or referendum process on state-wide level.

 

 

North Dakota

Petitions must have sponsoring committee in the legislature; full text of the measure must be included with new material being underlined; completed, signed petitions are delivered to Sec. of State who will prepare the form to include provisions for the identification of the measure, the printed name and address of the resident, the address of the committee sponsor, and a notary section; petitions can be circulated for up to one year after being submitted to the Sec. of State for approval (see ND ST 16.1-01-09).

ND - Constitutional amendment (No. 1) to guarantee the right to hunt and fish (passed by 77% in 2000); added new section to Article XI of the state constitution stating that hunting/fishing was valued part of heritage and for the "public good.”

 

ND - Constitutional amendment (No. 1) to guarantee the right to hunt and fish (passed by 77% in 2000); added new section to Article XI of the state constitution stating that hunting/fishing was valued part of heritage and for the "public good.”

 

Ohio

Established in 1912.

OH - 2009 Issue 2 - Ohio Livestock Care Standards Amendment - a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. Proposed creating a 13-member Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board for establishing standards governing the care of livestock and poultry.

 

Approved by voters - 63.66% to 36.34%.

 

OH - 1998 ballot measure ("Issue No. 1") would ban the hunting of mourning doves--failed 40% to 60%.

 

 

Oklahoma

Any referendum or initiative petition proposed by the people against an enacted measure must be filed with the Atty. General and Sec. of State; shall not exceed 200 words; shall be written for an 8th grade reading level; and shall not reflect any partiality in its composition; completion of the process takes a number of days to then have it added to the ballot by the Election Commission (see OK ST T. 34, sec. 9).

OK - Nov. 2002 ballot initiative to ban cockfighting (OK was one of only 3 states that still legalized cockfighting). Provides a broad range of violations--all of which are felonies.  It would be illegal to hold or encourage a cockfight, be illegal to keep birds for fighting purposes, and be illegal to be a spectator in a cockfight

For the proposal – Yes – 565,967

Against the proposal – No – 441,220. [link to cockfighting initiative].

 

OK - 2008 - Question 742 - would add a new section to the State Constitution. It gives all people of this state the right to hunt, trap, fish and take game and fish. It allows for taking game and fish by traditional means, and makes hunting, fishing, and trapping the preferred means to manage certain game and fish.

 

OK - Nov. 2002 ballot initiative to ban cockfighting (OK was one of only 3 states that still legalized cockfighting). Provides a broad range of violations--all of which are felonies.  It would be illegal to hold or encourage a cockfight, be illegal to keep birds for fighting purposes, and be illegal to be a spectator in a cockfight

For the proposal – Yes – 565,967

Against the proposal – No – 441,220. [link to cockfighting initiative].

 

OK - 2008 - Question 742 - would add a new section to the State Constitution. It gives all people of this state the right to hunt, trap, fish and take game and fish. It allows for taking game and fish by traditional means, and makes hunting, fishing, and trapping the preferred means to manage certain game and fish.

Oregon

Established in 1902

OR - Nov. 2000 measure #35 would amend laws regulating licensing, control, impounding and killing of dogs--measure failed to qualify for ballot.

 

OR - Initiative #97 to ban steel-leg traps and certain poisons (similar to WA initiative in 2000) defeated 39% to 61% in 2000.

 

 

OR - Nov. 2000 measure #35 would amend laws regulating licensing, control, impounding and killing of dogs--measure failed to qualify for ballot.

 

OR - Initiative #97 to ban steel-leg traps and certain poisons (similar to WA initiative in 2000) defeated 39% to 61% in 2000.

 

Pennsylvania

No initiative or referendum process.

 

 

Rhode Island

No initiative or referendum process.

 

 

South Carolina

No initiative or referendum process.

 

 

South Dakota

Established in 1878; 1972 (allowing for directly initiated constitutional amendments) and 1988 (repeal of indirect initiatives).

 

 

Tennessee

No initiative or referendum process.

 

 

Texas

No initiative or referendum process.

 

 

Utah

Established in 1900 and 1917.

 

 

Vermont

No initiative or referendum process.

 

 

Virginia

No initiative or referendum process.

VA - Constitutional right (ballot measure #2) to hunt and fish passed by 59% in 2000.

VA - Constitutional right (ballot measure #2) to hunt and fish passed by 59% in 2000.

Washington

Petitions to people and legislature have similar formats but are codified in differently (see RCWA 29.79.100 and 29.79.090).

WA - Anti-trapping measure in 2000 that would ban certain steel-jaw traps and certain poisons and passed with 54% but allows trapping in certain circumstances; still allows cage and box traps, suitcase-type live beaver traps and mouse/rat traps; violation is gross misdemeanor; attempt to overturn the bill in 2001.

 

WA - Anti-trapping measure in 2000 that would ban certain steel-jaw traps and certain poisons and passed with 54% but allows trapping in certain circumstances; still allows cage and box traps, suitcase-type live beaver traps and mouse/rat traps; violation is gross misdemeanor; attempt to overturn the bill in 2001.

 

West Virginia

No initiative or referendum process.

 

 

Wisconsin

No initiative or referendum process.

 

 

Wyoming

Established in 1968.

 

 

 

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