Missouri voters will vote on Tuesday on a constitutional amendment requiring school districts to implement new performance evaluations for teachers. Though individual districts would have some freedom in developing evaluation mechanisms, the proposed amendment mandates that a majority of the evaluation must be comprised of quantifiable student growth measures. In other words, Missouri teachers would be evaluated mostly on the performance of their students on end-of-year tests, a practice that has gained national traction among lawmakers and spurred criticism from teacher unions.

Oregon voters will decide Nov. 4 whether to overturn a state law that grants driver’s cards to Oregonians who can’t prove legal residency. The legislature passed the bill in 2013, but opponents of the law gathered enough signatures to send the measure to the polls as a ballot initiative. The outcome—if enough people oppose the law—could stop it dead in its tracks. 

Over the last decade public opinion about marijuana seems to have shifted dramatically in favor of reforming and decriminalizing existing state marijuana laws.  In 2012 Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational marijuana.  Over 20 other states permit the use of medical marijuana in various forms.    This year voters in several more states will consider ballot initiatives that would legalize marijuana use for recreational or medicinal purposes.  Highlighted below are several key states to watch on election day.

Arizona voters this fall will get final say on a proposed constitutional amendment allowing the state to opt out of certain federal laws. Under the proposed amendment, Arizona could decide, via referendum or legislation, that the state would not use its resources to carry out any given federal action. If such a situation were to occur, state and local governments would be prohibited from using personnel or financial resources to enforce the federal law.

With Election Day 2014 less than a week away, voters in five states will decide on ballot propositions specifically addressing voting rights and election administration.

On Election Day 2014, voters in Arkansas will decide if the 30,000 people in their state who earn the minimum wage should get a raise for the New Year. The ballot measure, called the Arkansas Minimum Wage Initiative, would give minimum wage earners a $0.25/hour raise on Jan. 1, 2015 - equal to about $40 more a month for a full-time worker. The measure would raise the wage twice more over the next two years, until it reaches $8.50 in 2017.

Voters in several states will consider the fate of transportation-related ballot measures in next week’s election. I have a refresher on the statewide measures in play as well as some local and county ballot measures to watch. Plus a number of items on how transportation is playing as an issue in a number of fall campaigns and how it could be on the agenda for state legislatures next year. As always, I also have my regular roundup of items on the future of the federal transportation program, state transportation funding efforts, public-private partnerships and tolling and state multi-modal strategies.

Ballot initiatives in two states-Colorado and Oregon-address labeling for genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Currently, neither state requires labeling for genetically modified food. Both Colorado Proposition 105, known as the Colorado Right to Know Act, and Oregon Measure 92, known as the Oregon Mandatory Labeling of GMOs Initiative, would require foods that were produced with or contain genetically modified organisms to be labeled. 

Proposition 47, the Reduced Penalties for some Crime Initiative, is currently on the November ballot in California. The initiative would reduce the classification of most “nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes” from a felony to a misdemeanor crime. These crimes include personal drug use, shoplifting, grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, writing a bad check, as long as the amount does not exceed $950. The proposition...

On Election Day 2014, voters in four states - Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota - will decide if minimum wage workers in their state should get a raise. If voters in all four states approve a wage increase, at least 57,000 minimum wage earners would be affected and would join workers in 16 other states who are scheduled to see a wage increase on Jan. 1, 2015.

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