Yahoo News Explains: Biggest ballot initiatives

Regardless of who wins or loses, there are some major initiatives on the ballot for these midterm elections.

North Dakota and Michigan are voting on legalizing cannabis for recreational use. In both states, the bill would allow people 21 and older to possess, purchase and use cannabis.

According to Ballotpedia, 54 percent support legalization in Michigan, while only 40 percent support it in North Dakota.

The minimum wage is also a big-ticket item up for a vote in two states.

Voters in Arkansas and Missouri are deciding whether or not employers will have to gradually increase the salaries they pay workers.

Missouri’s Proposition B would increase wages from the current rate of $7.85 per hour to $12 per hour by 2023. Arkansas’s Issue 5 would raise pay from $8.50 per hour to $11 per hour by 2021.

Both bills are likely to pass in red states, according to the Fairness Project, an advocacy group for higher wages.  

The wedge issue, abortion, is also up for a vote.

Alabama is voting on Amendment 2, which “would declare and otherwise affirm this state’s longstanding public policy and commitment to acknowledge and support the rights of unborn children.”

Section 57 would add to the West Virginia Constitution: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”

Oregon will vote on whether or not public funds should be used for abortions unless they are medically necessary or required by law.

But climate change initiatives could have the biggest impact.

Several states have important votes ahead:

  • Washington will decide on the country’s first carbon dioxide tax.
  • Voters in New Mexico will choose between two candidates with very different stances on methane leaks.
  • Arizona and Nevada have proposed bills that would require 50 percent of their electricity to be renewable by 2030.
  • In Colorado, taxpayers will vote on a regulation intended to cut back fracking.

The decisions voters make will affect their states for years to come.

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