While a handful of U.S. Senate, House and state legislative races from the 2020 elections remain uncalled, voters in a handful of states made some significant policy changes on Tuesday, Nov. 3, through the ballot initiative and referendum processes. Many of these affect the construction industry, including changing the minimum wage, legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana, paid family and medical leave and more.
In Florida, voters approved Amendment 2, which gradually increases the minimum wage of workers in the state from $ 8.56 per hour to $15 per hour by September 2026. The vote in Florida continued a string of successful minimum wage increases through the ballot initiative process. Since 1996, voters haven’t rejected a ballot proposal to increase the minimum wage in any state where.
Like minimum wage, the question of marijuana legalization and decriminalization has made frequent appearances on ballots around the country in the last half decade. In 2020, four states—Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota—all approved statewide ballot measures that will legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. In Arizona and Montana, the initiative was written to require state executive departments to develop and promulgate the rules around legalization. In New Jersey, the initiative was proposed as a state constitutional amendment and will be regulated by the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission. South Dakotans approved both medicinal and recreational marijuana use, the first state in the nation to approve both at the same time, and Mississippians joined in approving a medical marijuana program.
In Colorado, voters approved Proposition 118, which would establish a paid family and medical leave program in the state. The program, scheduled to begin in 2023, will allow for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave funded through a payroll tax paid by employers and employees in a 50/50 split, among other provisions. This was the first time that the question of a paid family and medical leave program has been passed via ballot measure. This model will likely be replicated in other states in the coming years.
ABC and its chapters will continue to engage with state officials to make sure these ballot initiatives are implemented in the safest and fairest manner for contractors and business owners. For a full roundup of these and other ballot initiatives that passed last week, please visit Ballotpedia.org.