Significant Results of the Mid-Term Elections & State Ballot Measures of 2014
The mid-term elections of 2014 were a massacre against the Democratic Party. Not since World War II have the republicans controlled the majority of the House by a margin so large. They also currently control the Senate.
As a result of the republican’s newfound control, Congress will be on the offensive to repeal many of the advances made to provide the country with better health care and equal rights. Democrats will respond by filibustering and the country will be at a stand-still.
However, hope is not lost for the progressive movement. The following is a summary of the progressive state ballot measures that passed in the mid-term elections:
Alaska: Marijuana was decriminalized, minimum wage was set to one of the highest in the country, and salmon were protected from mining projects.
Arkansas: Minimum wage increased to $8.50 and limits were set on campaign donations and gifts from big business.
California: $7 billion in funding was approved for the state’s water system and most nonviolent crimes were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.
Colorado: Open school board meetings are now required when bargaining with public employee unions and race-track gambling was not extended to fund schools.
Florida: Although the passage of legalizing medical marijuana failed, 58% voted yes. The measure required a 60% threshold.
Georgia: The maximum state income-tax rate will not be raised.
Illinois: Coverage of prescription birth control was approved, the minimum wage increased, and a millionaire tax was approved to fund schools. Unfortunately, with the exception of the minimum wage increase, the laws are not quite in effect, as they were only an advisory to gauge public opinion.
Massachusetts: No automatic increase in the gas tax will occur and extended paid sick time will be mandatory if a company has more than 11 employees.
Nebraska: Minimum wage increase to $9 an hour.
New Jersey: Lower-risk defendants who are unable to afford bail will be released.
New York: A commission was established to redraw political districts for state and congressional seats. Also the state legislature now has the ability to veto the commission’s maps with two public votes.
North Dakota: A measure was rejected that presumed life begins at conception and a restriction was set on non-pharmacists owning a pharmacy.
Oregon: Marijuana was legalized and equal rights are guaranteed with no regard to gender.
South Dakota: Minimum wage was increased to $8.50.
Virginia: When a member of the military is killed in action, the place of residence owned by their spouse will be exempt from taxation.
Washington: A new law mandates background checks on all gun sales and transfers, “including at gun shows and online,” and exempts “weapons transferred within families and for the purchase of antique guns.”
In review, progressives have made leeway in gun control, raising the state minimum wage, rejecting anti- abortion laws, providing paid sick leave, expanding environmental protections, and legalizing marijuana.