State FBs Weigh in on Ballot Initiatives

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Political candidates get top-of-the ticket treatment, but voters in several states will also be considering ballot measures addressing a range of issues from elections policy and marijuana to taxes and minimum wage.

In Arizona, voters will decide on the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona proposition. Arizona Farm Bureau warns the initiative has the potential to cripple the agricultural industry by limiting access to affordable power and vastly increasing the costs of producing food. Homeowners too will see their energy costs skyrocket.

“By ignoring the value of existing, reliable, sustainable energy sources and disregarding the realities of the current energy market, the initiative will make the cost of energy needed to produce our food exponentially more expensive – and that cost will place burdens on farmers and consumers alike,” AFB’s Chelsea McGuire and Julie Murphree wrote in a column published early this month.

Colorado Farm Bureau spearheaded a successful effort to get a property rights initiative on the state ballot.

“Property rights are important to all Coloradans,” says Chad Vorthmann, CFB executive vice president and one of the proponents of the measure. “We saw that support as we worked around the state to gather more than 208,000 signatures. This measure will protect Coloradans and hold government accountable for its actions.”

According to CFB, Amendment 74 will ensure citizens have a fair opportunity to be compensated for their potential losses due to punitive government action. It protects all private property owners, including homeowners, businesses, farmers and ranchers, urbanites and suburbanites from state or local governments taking their property by reducing its value without compensation.

Michigan voters have three proposals on their ballot, all of which Michigan Farm Bureau opposes. The initiatives to legalize marijuana, change how the state determines legislative district boundaries, and modify voter registration and election laws all run counter to the organization’s member-developed policies, according to Matt Kapp, MFB’s government relations specialist.

“The legislative committee of our Michigan Farm Bureau board of directors affirmed that by endorsing a ‘no’ vote on the proposals, and now we’re encouraging county Farm Bureaus to share this information with members,” Kapp said.

Missouri Farm Bureau is also opposing a marijuana-related ballot initiative—one that would legalize medical marijuana—as well as two others: one that would increase the minimum wage and one that would change the state’s legislative districts. MFB is supporting a proposition that would generate over $400 million annually for Missouri’s roads and bridges through a reasonable, phased-in plan.

In the Buckeye State, Ohio Farm Bureau is urging voters to oppose the Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Amendment because it’s not a viable approach to the state’s opioid crisis.

“Our state and county Farm Bureaus have been at the forefront of drug abuse prevention in rural Ohio,” said Frank Burkett III, a dairy farmer and president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “We’ve dug deeply into understanding Ohio’s massive drug problems. Issue 1 runs counter to much of what our members believe are effective steps to reducing the impact of drugs on our communities.”

California voters have 11 propositions to consider. California Farm Bureau has taken a position on seven of them. The organization is in favor of ballot measures related to water system enhancements, property tax assessment transfer and fuel tax repeal.

Of the proposition related to farm animal housing, which CFB opposes, CFB President Jamie Johansson said, “Everyone agrees farm animals should be treated with care, and California voters passed Proposition 2 on animal housing 10 years ago. California egg farmers who have managed to stay in business comply with those rules. All Proposition 12 does is allow trial lawyers to file predatory lawsuits against egg farmers, who provide some of the healthiest food on the planet. Proposition 12 would push egg prices higher in the state that already suffers from the nation’s highest poverty rate.”

CFB also opposes initiatives dealing with a shift in tax revenue, rent control and kidney dialysis price setting.

Posted by: FB News

Picture: AFBF