Cumberland Times-News

November 12, 2013

Initiatives

Voters in some states have their say on ballot issues


Cumberland Times-News

— Maryland did not have an election this time around, but other states did, and voters had their say on a number of ballot initiatives.

One involved the Houston Astrodome, which when it opened in 1965 was called “The Eighth Wonder of the World” by some people.

It since has fallen upon hard times, and voters rejected the authorization of bonds that would renovate it and turn it into a convention and exhibition center.

This means it probably will be torn down.

Voters in New York state agreed to authorize the construction of seven casinos across the state.

They are described as Las Vegas-style gaming palaces, and one of them will be in New York City.

However, voters in Massachusetts rejected a plan for a $1 billion resort casino and entertainment complex in Palmer. Officials of the Suffolk Downs racetrack in Boston said they would reconsider plans to build a resort casino after voters in one neighboring area approved it, but rejected it in another.

Voters in the Seattle suburb of SeaTac agreed to raise the minimum wage for workers at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport and nearby large hotels to $15 an hour. Supporters said it was time that workers made a living wage; opponents said SeaTac will become the next Detroit — which is the nation’s largest city to declare bankruptcy. Washington state already has America’s highest minimum wage at $9.19 an hour.

Colorado voters approved a 25 percent tax on newly legalized recreational marijuana. Voters in Portland, Maine, legalized possession of recreational marijuana, and three cities in Michigan approved some legal protection for users of small amounts of marijuana.

Hyde Park, Utah, was one of the few dry towns left in the state but approved the sale of 3.2 percent beer by a vote of 859 to 481. Residents will now be able to buy beer at the town’s lone convenience store, but will have to go elsewhere to buy higher-octane beer or liquor.