Associated Press

The secretary of state’s office said Thursday it’s cleared the way for three proposed constitutional amendments to appear on the November ballot, despite questions about who has the authority to prepare the measures’ language under a new law.

Martha Adcock, general counsel for Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office, told lawmakers that the office decided to use language provided by the attorney general’s office and from legislation approved last year to prepare the proposals for the November ballot. A new law took away the attorney general’s authority to prepare the measures’ “popular names” that appear on the ballot.

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A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of an Ohio law barring out-of-state residents from circulating petitions needed to place an issue or candidate on the ballot.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson said in ruling this week that he could identify no harm that would come to the state from allowing nonresidents to gather signatures.

The injunction comes in a dual challenge by the Libertarian Party of Ohio and a group that includes Citizens in Charge, a ballot access organization, and backers of two active ballot campaigns.

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A Montgomery County woman says she is planning a petition effort to get Maryland’s gun control bill put to a popular vote.

Sue Payne tells WBAL-AM ( ) that she hopes to have a website up so voters can download and sign petitions to get the bill on next year’s ballot.

Payne decided to act after opponents of the bill decided on a court challenge rather than a referendum petition.

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Colorado abortion foes are launching another campaign to amend the state constitution to give legal protections to human embryos. Supporters said Tuesday they’ll begin collecting signatures to get it on next year’s ballot. The measure is often called a “personhood amendment” because it grants embryos the legal status of a person.

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Seattle voters have rejected a 20-cent fee for every paper or plastic bag they get from supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores. The city’s incumbent mayor didn’t fare much better than the fee, trailing two challengers in a bid for a third term. With about half the ballots counted in the all-mail vote, the bag fee was failing 58 percent to 42 percent in Tuesday’s primary. City leaders had passed an ordinance to charge the bag fee, which was to start in January. But the plastics industry bankrolled a referendum to put the question to voters in Tuesday’s election.

Oakland pot activists fresh off a victory at local polls on the taxing of medical marijuana took their first official step Tuesday toward asking California voters to legalize pot. A proposed ballot measure filed with the California attorney general’s office would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of pot. Homeowners could grow marijuana for personal use on garden plots up to 25 square feet.

Texans will decide on a constitutional amendment limiting the use of eminent domain and 10 other propositions when they go to the polls in November. Secretary of State Hope Andrade held a drawing Tuesday to determine the ballot order for the propositions and to call attention to the upcoming election. The proposed amendments were approved by at least two-thirds of the Texas House and Senate in this year’s legislative session. “I hope Texans will recognize the role they can play in our state’s future and head to the polls this fall,” Andrade said.

Voters in Oakland overwhelmingly approved the nation’s first tax on medical marijuana that is sold ad city cannabis clubs. The new tax rate will be $18 out of every $1,000 in sales at the clubs, generating nearly $300,000 in revenue for the city.


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Gov. Sarah Palin says she’ll sign a petition aimed at letting Alaska voters decide whether girls under 18 should be required to notify their parents before getting abortions. Proponents will need just over 32,000 signatures to qualify the initiative for the 2010 ballot.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) ”” A pair of Oklahoma lawmakers have received an award from a national voter rights group focused on the initiative and referendum process.

The Virginia-based Citizens in Charge Foundation on Tuesday named state Sen. Randy Brogdon and Rep. Randy Terrill as the March 2009 recipients of the John Lilburne Award.

The two state legislators were recognized for their efforts to make it easier for Oklahomans to place state questions on the ballot.(MORE)

The Unites States Supreme Court denied Arizona’s request for an appeal in the case Nader v. Brewer. Last year the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Arizona’s law requiring petition circulators to be state residents. Thirteen other states had asked the high court to overturn the decistion. Similar laws in Ohio and Oklahoma were invalidated last year in the 6th and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeal.