Capitol Comments

Yesterday, Colorado and Washington made history, becoming the first states to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.  The measures also call for the establishment of a state regulatory and taxation framework similar to those used for tobacco and alcohol.  Passage of the measures set up a potential showdown with the federal government, which still categorizes marijuana as a controlled substance.  

Colorado voters approved ...

In 2012, voters in 38 states considered 174 ballot measures, with a wide range of topics, including marriage equality, marijuana legalization, abortion, immigration, labor, criminal justice, euthanasia, voter ID, and affirmative action. 

Voters in three Western states – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – will decide today whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 and over, while also establishing a state regulatory and taxation framework similar to those used for tobacco and alcohol.  Passage of these measures would set up a showdown with the federal government, because the drug would still be illegal under federal law.

Next week, Californians will have the opportunity to revisit two major criminal justice issues previously enacted by ballot initiative: the death penalty and the three-strikes sentencing law. 

Proposition 36 will provide residents with an opportunity to modify the state's 18-year-old "three-strikes" law, which allows judges to impose a sentence of 25-years-to-life for offenders who commit a third felony, no matter how minor, if they have two...

The 2012 edition of The Book of the States is now available online in its entirety!  This includes 32 articles on a wide range of topics and 170 tables.  Each of the tables is available in PDF or as a downloadable Excel file.    

The 2010 edition of The Book of the States was the first in the publication's 76-year-history to be available in its entirety in a digital format.  Building on that success, previous editions dating back to 2004 are also now available in their entirety at