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Where Voters Came Down On Science-related Ballot Items


By David Shultz

The votes are in, and Republicans now control both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, but as ScienceInsider reported earlier, there were also a number of science-related items on state ballots yesterday. Here’s how things shook out:

In Colorado and Oregon, voters rejected referenda that would have required genetically modified foods to be labeled. In Colorado, Proposition 105 was defeated by roughly a 2-1 ratio, with the latest numbers showing 66.4% of some 1,844,197 voters checking the “no” box. Oregon’s vote was much closer, as Measure 92 was defeated by just 1.3% of 1,334,791 votes cast, 50.7% to 49.3%.

In Michigan, voters defeated by significant margins propositions to allow hunting of the state’s wolves. In spite of the vote, however, the matter isn’t settled. State courts will have to decide whether a measure passed by the legislature, and designed to circumvent yesterday’s vote, is constitutional. If courts uphold that measure, wolf hunting will be allowed.

In Maine, voters rejected a measure that would have barred the use of food baits to attract bears, by a vote of 52.7% to 47.3%. Bear biologists had come out against the measure, arguing that baiting was an important tool for managing problem bears and research.

In other states:

Alaska: Voters approved Ballot Measure 4, 65.3% to 34.7%, requiring legislative approval of a controversial gold mine proposed for the salmon-rich Bristol Bay area.

Arizona: Voters approved Proposition 303, 78.3% to 21.7%, permitting terminally ill patients and their doctors to use experimental treatments that have completed only preliminary phase I safety and dose trials.

Maine: Voters approved Question 2, 60.6% to 39.4%, providing $8 million in bonds to help create an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory administered by the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension service.

Maine: Voters approved Question 4, 63.1% to 36.9%, providing $10 million in bonds, to be matched by $11 million in private funds, to build a genomics and disease research center at the Maine Technology Institute in Brunswick.

Maine: Voters approved Question 5, 51.7% to 48.3%, providing $3 million in bonds, to be matched by $5.7 million in private funds, to modernize and expand a biological laboratory specializing in tissue repair and regeneration.

Rhode Island: Voters approved Question 4, 63.4% to 36.6% providing $125 million in bonds for a College of Engineering building at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston.


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