Here’s how Americans voted on key 2018 ballot measures
Voters decided on major changes on issues like marijuana, abortion and Medicaid.
- Alabama and West Virginia passed amendments that would effectively outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe.
- Medical marijuana is now legal in Missouri and Utah, while Michigan legalized recreational marijuana.
- Missouri and Arkansas will raise the minimum wage significantly over the next several years.
The 2018 midterm elections were marked by massive voter turnout, a record number of female candidates, and no shortage of controversial tactics from state and federal politicians. On Tuesday night it was clear that the results would be mixed, with no clear "blue wave" or "red wall" dominating the country's political landscape. Democrats managed to capture the House of Representatives while Republicans gained even more seats in the Senate, a result many had broadly predicted.
At the state level, many voters chose to pass landmark amendments and measures on issues like abortion, Medicaid and marijuana. Here's how the country voted on some of the most significant measures on state ballots in the 2018 midterms.
Three states voted on abortion-related ballot measures this year.
Alabama passed Amendment 2, which bans funding for abortions and grants constitutional rights to unborn children. The amendment also states there are no constitutional protections for a woman's right to an abortion.
West Virginia voters also passed an amendment to ban public funding for abortion and, like Alabama, declare no constitutional protections for abortion. The amendment states that "nothing in this constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion," including no exceptions for rape, incest or life of the mother.
Both amendments would effectively outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
Voters in Oregon voted against a measure that would've prohibited publicly funded health care programs from covering abortion.
Massachusetts voters chose to uphold a state law that protects transgender people from discrimination in public places, like locker rooms and bathrooms. The state had already passed legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the workplace or for housing, but those protections didn't allow, say, a transgender person to use the gendered bathroom of their choice.
Critics of the law say it would endanger people by providing predators with easier access to public spaces.
"We are deeply disappointed that the people of Massachusetts will continue to be forced to sacrifice their privacy and safety in the name of political correctness," said Andrew Beckwith, a legal analyst for No On 3- Keep MA Safe, which opposed the measure.
However, there have been no recorded instances of sexual predators taking advantage of such laws in the 19 states that have already passed them.
Three states legalized marijuana in some form.
Michigan moved to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, becoming the first Midwestern state to do so. It's now legal for residents in Michigan to grow up to 12 plants.
In Missouri, voters faced three medical marijuana measures on the ballot this year. They chose to pass Amendment 2, which legalizes medical marijuana with a 4% sales tax, the funds of which will be used mostly to aid military veterans. Those with a prescription will also be allowed to grow plants at home.
Medical marijuana also passed in Utah, where patients with physician approval can purchase two ounces of marijuana from a dispensary during a two-week period. Residents who live farther than 100 miles from a licensed dispensary will be allowed to grow plants at home.
Missouri and Arkansas, two red states, both passed incremental increases to the minimum wage: Missouri will raise the wage from $7.85 to $12 by 2023, Arkansas will raise it from $8.50 to $11 by 2021.
Four states had ballot measures on whether to expand or continue expanding Medicaid. Voters in Utah, Nebraska and Idaho moved to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, including to individuals younger than 65 who live significantly below the poverty line.
Montana voted to expand Medicaid in 2015, but the measure came with a sunset clause that expired at the end of 2018. Yesterday, the state voted not to continue expansion funding.
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- Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
- Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
- Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
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- Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just proposed a bold education reform plan that would forgive billions in student debt.
- The plan would forgive the debt held by more than 30 million Americans.
- The debt forgiveness program is one part of a larger program to make higher education more accessible.
America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.
- Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
- Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
- Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
In most states, LGBTQ Americans have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.
- The Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also applies to gay and transgender people.
- The court, which currently has a probable conservative majority, will likely decide on the cases in 2020.
- Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws effectively extending the Civil Rights of 1964 to gay and transgender people.
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