Downtown Los Angeles, California
Many states are holding important ballot measures on popular topics like voting rights, the environment, health care, criminal justice, and taxes, but some states and cities are voting on even more unusual policy proposals. One of the most notable comes from Los Angeles, California, where the country's second-largest city will decide on a measure backed by the City Council to amend the city's charter so that it can eventually establish a not-for-profit bank owned and run by the city itself.
This proposal comes in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis and would set up a municipal bank to finance investment in local infrastructure and community development, and to promote stability in the local banking sector. Such a bank would reflect policies closer to the quasi-democratic socialism practiced in parts of Europe rather than the welfare-state liberalism typical of the United States. Indeed, North Dakota actually has a state-owned bank created when the socialist Nonpartisan League was ascendant in state politics a century ago. However, opponents of L.A.’s plan have criticized what they call a lack of planning and the potentially large startup cost.
Meanwhile, the state of California is voting on another measure that could have major implications for municipal governance. Amid a severe housing shortage caused by high demand and restrictive zoning laws, voters will decide whether to amend the state constitution to allow local governments to impose rent control on all types of housing.
In Oregon, legislators almost unanimously enacted a "sanctuary state" law in 1987 that now limits state officials from working with Trump's authoritarian and xenophobic immigration enforcement agencies. Immigration restrictionists have put a measure on the ballot to repeal that law, but limited polling shows it failing.
Finally, activists opposed to LGBTQ rights have placed a referendum on the ballot to veto Massachusetts lawmakers' ban on discrimination in public places based on gender identity. Given how socially progressive Massachusetts is, this veto effort is unlikely to pass, but defeating it will nonetheless strike a blow against transphobia.
You can find a table summarizing these measures below, and you can view our full list of measures to watch on a variety of topics in this spreadsheet. Our spreadsheet details whether each measure was placed on the ballot by elected representatives or whether it was directly initiated by voters, as well as whether it's a statute or amends a state constitution or local government charter. To read our first post in this series on ballot measures affecting voting rights, please click here.
|California||Proposition 10||Allows local governments to impose rent control on all types of housing|
|Hawaii||Constitutional Convention||Calls for a constitutional convention|
|Massachusetts||Question 3||Repeals ban on gender-identity discrimination in public places|
|Oregon||Measure 105||Repeals sanctuary state law|
|Los Angeles, CA||Amendment B||Creates a city-owned bank to strengthen local banks and provide investment funds|