2018 Ballot Questions: Why We're a YES - YES - YES

Ballot Questions

On November 6, Massachusetts voters will see three questions on their ballot. Progressive Massachusetts recommends YES-YES-YES.


Question 1: Nurse-Patient Assignment Limits Initiative

Recommendation: Vote YES.


What a Yes Would Do: Question 1 would limit the number of patients that can be assigned to each registered nurse in Massachusetts hospitals and certain other health care facilities. The maximum number of patients would vary by type of unit and level of care (see the breakdown here). The enforcement of the measure would be suspended during a public health emergency as declared by the state or nationally.

Have Other States Done This?: California is currently the only state to have implemented fixed nurse-to-patient ratios. Doomsday scenarios have not come to pass, job satisfaction among nurses has gone up, and readmissions have gone down. You can read more here:

Why You Should Vote Yes: In Massachusetts, there is no law and no limit governing the number of patients that can be assigned to a nurse at one time (aside from the Intensive Care Unit). Overworked nurses and understaffed hospitals lead to more complications, readmissions, and errors. Nurses aren't able to thrive at their work, and patients aren't able to get the care they deserve. More time with your nurse means better care for you.

Who is Supporting Q1: A wide coalition of labor groups, community groups, and progressive elected officials -- See the full list here. The No on Question 1 campaign is being funded by mega-rich hospital executives (read more here). Which side are you on?

How You Can Help: Find volunteer opportunities on the Safe Patient Limits website here.


Question 2: Advisory Commission for Amendments to the U.S. Constitution Regarding Corporate Personhood and Political Spending Initiative

Recommendation: Vote YES.


What a Yes Would Do: Question 2 would create a 15-member citizens commission tasked with proposing amendments to the US Constitution, specifically regarding overturning Citizens United and defining inalienable constitutional rights as belonging to individual living human beings, not artificial entities or collections of human beings. The commission would create reports onpolitical and election spending in Massachusetts; the legal ability of the state government to regulate corporations; and proposals for federal constitutional amendments and actions recommended for advancing the proposed amendments. Read the full text here.

Who Would Sit on the Commission?: Any citizen residing in Massachusetts would be eligible to serve, and the commissioners would be unpaid. The commissioners would be appointed by the Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Speaker of the House, and Senate President (each of whom would appoint 3 members).

When Would It Take Effect?: The measure would take effect on January 1, 2019, and the commission's first report would be due on December 31, 2019.

Why You Should Vote Yes: On the local, state, and federal level, we see time and time again how the outsize role of money in politics distorts democracy. A Yes on Question 2 would send a powerful statement to elected officials and to other states that Massachusetts voters want to see real action on campaign finance reform.

Who is Suporting Q2: See a list of endorsing individuals and organizations here.

How You Can Help: You can sign up to volunteer with the People Govern, Not Money campaign here.

Recommendation: Yes


What a Yes Would Do: A "yes" vote on Question 3 supports upholding the landmark 2016 bill that that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in public places. The law requires access to areas segregated based on gender—such as bathrooms and locker rooms—to be allowed according to an individual's self-identified gender identity. In short, the law is about the right of trans people to exist in public space.

Why Is This Even on the Ballot?: Reactionaries in this state collected enough signatures to do so because they want to take our state backwards. This is the first time in decades that Massachusetts has had a citizens veto referendum on the ballot. What that means is that when you enter the ballot box, you--the voter--should act as though you are the governor being presented with this bill. A yes is a vote to sign it. A no is a vote to veto it.

Why You Should Vote Yes: Because everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Because every young person deserves a chance to succeed in school and prepare for their future -- including young people who are transgender. Because we are better than fear, bigotry, and transphobia. To name a few.

Who is Supporting Q3: Check out the coalition partners here.

How You Can Help: Find volunteer opportunities on the Freedom for All Massachusetts website here.

About Our Process

Progressive Massachusetts has been a part of the Freedom for All Massachusetts coalition since the legislative push the session before last, but before taking a position on Questions 1 and 2, we polled our members--the ultimate decision-makers in our organization. Our members overwhelmingly voted to say Yes  on 1 and Yes on 2 as well.


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