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October 12 Panel Discussion: Ballot Question 4

On October 12 at 4 p.m., the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts and the Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) coalition will present “Safer Roads for a Stronger Commonwealth,” an online panel discussion about Question 4, which will be on the November 8 ballot. A Yes vote on Question 4 will uphold the Work and Family Mobility Act, a new state law that encourages safer roads by authorizing testing and licensing for Massachusetts residents who do not have citizenship status. LWVMA is supporting Yes on 4. At this forum, hear from civic, business, transportation and public safety experts about what this law will do – and will not do – for Massachusetts. Public welcome! Register here.

LWVMA Statement on 2022 Ballot Questions

September 19, 2022

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts endorses Yes on 4 for Safer Roads – Ballot Question 4 – and is “taking no position” on Ballot Questions 1-3 for the November 8, 2022 election. This means that League members may participate in Yes or No campaigns for Ballot Questions 1-3 as individuals but should not do anything to make the public think that LWVMA or a Local League has endorsed a Yes or No campaign.

How Does The Board Decide?

The LWVMA Board votes to support, oppose, or take no position on specific ballot questions based on positions or goals previously researched and adopted by the League, which are described in Impact on Issues (LWVUS) or Where We Stand (LWVMA).

Constitutional Amendment Ballot Question

Question 1: Additional Tax on Income Over One Million Dollars

The LWVMA Board voted to take no position on the “Additional Tax on Income Over One Million Dollars,” nicknamed the “Fair Share Amendment” and the “Millionaires Tax.” If approved by the voters, it would create an additional 4% tax on the portion of income above $1 million and earmark that income tax revenue for public schools, colleges, and universities, and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation.

The Board has voted to take no position on this constitutional amendment because its earmarking (opposed by the League) is partially countered by the move toward a graduated income tax (supported by the League).

  • The League is unequivocally opposed to the earmarking of revenues, especially through a constitutional amendment with no mechanism for periodic review and with no “sunset” clause. 
    • The League firmly believes that the Legislature should set government program priorities through the budgetary process and annual appropriations.
    • The League’s opposition to earmarking applies even when the earmarks would support other goals of the League, like equitable education funding or bolstering public transportation to meet societal needs and to combat climate change.
  • On the other hand, both the LWVUS and LWVMA support a graduated income tax, and this amendment would be a step in that direction, because it would add one new graduated tax bracket.

 

Citizen-Initiated Ballot Questions

Question 2: Regulation of Dental Insurance

Ballot Question 2 gives the Commonwealth’s insurance commissioner power to require dental insurers to partially refund premiums to patients if a plan spent more than 17 percent on administrative expenses (as opposed to patient care and quality improvement). The League’s stated goal for health care is: “An affordable health care system that provides equal access to quality health care for all.” With no clear answer as to whether a 17 percent cutoff would be the most appropriate route to achieving that goal, LWVMA takes no position on this ballot question.

Question 3: Expanded Availability of Licenses for the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages

Question 3 proposes a new law to raise the number of licenses a single alcohol retailer can own. The League has no positions on this topic, so the LWVMA takes no position on this question.

Question 4: Eligibility for Driver’s Licenses

LWVMA supports a YES vote on Question 4. A YES vote keeps the Work and Family Mobility Act as law in Massachusetts. 

The Work and Family Mobility Act ensures that all qualified state residents, regardless of immigration status, can apply for a standard Massachusetts driver’s license starting on July 1, 2023. The law was enacted on June 9, 2022. Massachusetts became the 17th state to pass such a law, joining our neighbors New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont. LWVMA supported this bill during the 2019-20 session and is an active member of the coalition, Yes on 4 For Safer Roads.

Review our League position to support the law in Where We Stand, p. 49-50: “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts should provide driving certificates, or some other form of proof of driving validation to undocumented drivers, allowing those drivers to drive legally and ensuring that they would have passed a state driving test. The Commonwealth should permit and encourage auto insurance providers to issue insurance coverage to holders of such driving certificates.” 

Allowing all drivers to comply with testing and insurance rules will make everyone safer on the roads. Everyone needs a driver’s license to drive to their workplace to support themselves and their family members; and to drive their children to school and to medical appointments. Endorsed by 60+ law enforcement officials, the law is projected to generate $5M in taxes and $6M from fees, inspections, and other services within three years.

The law does not allow non-citizens to vote and does not automatically register non-citizens to vote. The RMV already issues licenses to people who are not eligible to vote–non-citizens with green cards and people under 18, for example–with no voting problems.

Read more about the Ballot Questions at the Secretary of State’s website.

Ballot Question Forums

Our thanks go out to the local Leagues who are taking the lead to organize the informational forums for Ballot Questions #1, #2 and #3.  Here are the details:

Ballot Question #1 (Additional Tax on Income Over One Million Dollars)

  • Lead Organizer:  LWV Boston
  • October 13, 6:45 p.m.  Register here

Ballot Question #2 (Regulation of Dental Insurance) & Ballot Question #3 (Expanded Availability of Licenses for the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages)

  • Lead Organizers:  LWV Sharon-Stoughton; LWV Needham; LWV Salem; LWV Andover-N. Andover; LWV Newton
  • October 17, 7:30 p.m.  Register here

For Ballot Question #4, LWVMA and the Transportation for Massachusetts coalition (T4MA) are organizing an advocacy forum for Yes on 4. The panel discussion entitled “Safer Roads for a Stronger Commonwealth” will take place October 12, 4:00 p.m.  Register here. LWVMA supports a YES vote on Question 4.

Single-Payer Health Care on Ballot in 20 Districts

In addition to the statewide ballot questions, the ballot in 20 state Representative districts will have a non-binding ballot question on legislation to create a single-payer health care system in Massachusetts.

That question is sponsored by MassCare, the coalition supporting single-payer health care; LWVMA is a member of that coalition.

The question reads:  “Shall the Representative from this District be instructed to vote for legislation to create a single payer system of universal health care that provides all Massachusetts residents with comprehensive health care coverage including the freedom to choose doctors and other health care professionals, facilities, and services, and eliminates the role of insurance companies in health care by creating an insurance trust fund that is publicly administered?”

This is a non-binding ballot question, but the results will let state Representatives know if their constituents support a single-payer system. 

The question will be on the ballot in these Representative districts:  2nd Berkshire; 6th, 7th, 8th and 12th Hampden; 2nd Franklin; 12th Worcester; 4th, 14th, 23rd, 25th, 33rd, 34th, and 35th Middlesex; 12th, 13th, and 15th Suffolk; 1st Essex; 3rd Plymouth; and 3rd Norfolk.

If you live in one of those districts, or want to help in a neighboring district, you can volunteer to work on the campaign from now through the November 8 election by signing up here on the MassCare website. Tasks include door-to-door canvassing, passing out literature, phone banking and text banking.  For more information, see the website

LWVMA has been supporting legislation to create a single-payer health care program in Massachusetts for years, and it was a priority bill at Day on the Hill in the current session.  You can see our testimony on this legislation here

Legislative Transparency on Ballot in 20 Districts

In addition to the statewide ballot questions, the ballot in 20 state Representative districts will have a non-binding ballot question on making the legislative process more transparent.

The question reads:  “Shall the representative for this district be instructed to vote in favor of changes to the applicable House of Representative rules to make each legislator’s vote in that body’s Legislative committees publicly available on the Legislature’s website?”  The referendum is sponsored by Act on Mass, an advocacy group for transparency. 

This is a non-binding ballot question, but the results will let state Representatives know if their constituents support the change in the legislature’s rules.

The question will be on the ballot in these Representative districts:   1st and 8th Essex; 12th and 19th Worcester; 4th Barnstable; 2nd Berkshire; 2nd Franklin; 8th and 12th Hampden; 4th, 14th, 25th, 33rd, 34th and 35th Middlesex; 3rd Norfolk; 3rd Plymouth; and 12th, 13th and 15th Suffolk.