[ARCHIVE/Please see updated page]
On the four November ballot questions, Progressive Mass recommends:
- NO on Question 1 to prevent the expansion of predatory gambling.
- NO on Question 2 to protect our public schools.
- YES on Question 3 to protect farm animals.
- YES on Question 4 to legalize recreational marijuana.
Question 1 would authorize a license for an additional slots parlor. The 2011 gambling law allowed for up to three resort casinos and one slots parlor. Penn National Gaming currently holds the sole slots parlor license, for Plainridge Park Casino, which has faced declining revenue. Five casinos are already expected to open in the state by 2019, with unproven benefits. Moreover, the ballot question was written by the very real estate developer who plans to benefit from it (Eugene McCain, who has proposed such a site by Suffolk Downs), attempting to bypass the legislature and setting a troubling precedent.
Facts on Question 1:
- Fitch Ratings, U.S. Regional Gaming Weakness to Persist
- Plainridge Casino Revenue Drops for Fifth Straight Month
- Revere Leaders: Just Say ‘No’ to Ballot Question 1
Question 2 would allow the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to approve up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions in existing charter schools each year, forever, without community input or additional funding. The charter schools authorized under Question 2 could open anywhere in the state, with no limits to how many could be opened in a single community. In 2017, charter schools will siphon off more than $450 million in funds that would otherwise stay in public schools despite serving only 4.2% of the state preK-12 public school population. Charter schools also tend to have harsh disciplinary practices, particularly targeted at students of color and students with special needs.
Facts about Charter Schools & Question 2:
- Mass Budget, “Charter School Funding, Explained”
- See how much money your city or town’s school district has lost to charter schools.
- Save Our Public Schools Fact Sheet
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, Not Measuring Up: The State of School Discipline in Massachusetts
Allies with No on 2
Allies with Yes on 2
Question 3 would ban inhumane practices of farm animal containment in the sale of eggs, veal, or pork, specifically practices that “prevent a covered animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending the animal’s limbs, or turning around freely.” Cramming animals into cages so small that they can’t turn around or extend their limbs is bad for animals, bad for consumers, and bad for workers. The practices of farm animal containment that Question 3 seeks to ban have been shown to increase rates of Salmonella, a lead cause of food poisoning, as well as to exacerbate air and water pollution. Moreover, better conditions for farm animals lead to better conditions for the workers.
Facts about Question 3:
- Cage Confinement of Laying Hens Increases Salmonella Risk
- Pew Commission Says Industrial Scale Farm Animal Production Poses “Unacceptable” Risks to Public Health, Environment
- List of endorsements
- “Yes on 3!” for Farm Workers Fact Sheet
Question 4 would legalize the possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts by persons age 21 and older and would provide for the regulation and taxation of commerce in marijuana, marijuana accessories, and marijuana products. Although Massachusetts has decriminalized possession, significant racial disparities exist in enforcement: in 2010, black individuals in Massachusetts were 3.9 times more likely to be arrested for possession than their white counterparts. The drug war has proven costly—in terms of lives ruined and heavy sums spent on policing and surveillance, and it’s time to render it a thing of the past, allocating money away from enforcing drug prohibition and toward investing in our communities.
Facts on Question 4 & Marijuana Legalization
- ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests”
- Drug Policy Alliance, “Marijuana Legalization in Washington State: One-Year Status Report”
- Marijuana May Alleviate America’s Opioid Crisis, New Study Suggests
- Marijuana May Be Even Safer Than Previously Thought, Researchers Say
- Now We Know What Happens to Teens When You Make Pot Legal
- Yes on 4 Fact Sheet
Our Members have also voted, overwhelmingly, to join the “No on Question 2” (Save Our Public Schools) campaign.
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