Press Release

Press Release AG Healey’s Office Receives 16 Initiative Petitions Proposing 13 Laws and 3 Constitutional Amendments

AG’s Certification Decisions to be Released on Sept. 4
For immediate release:
8/07/2019
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for AG Healey’s Office Receives 16 Initiative Petitions Proposing 13 Laws and 3 Constitutional Amendments

Meggie Quackenbush

BostonMeeting today’s 5 p.m. deadline, 14 groups filed 16 initiative petitions for proposed laws or constitutional amendments with Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office. Of the 16 petitions, 13 are proposed laws for the 2020 ballot and three are constitutional amendments for the 2022 ballot. The petitions will be available on the AG’s website.

Today’s filing deadline starts the process for proposed laws and constitutional amendments to appear on the statewide election ballot. As provided in the state constitution, the AG’s Office will review whether the initiative petitions meet certain constitutional requirements to be filed with the Secretary of State. Certification decisions are expected to be released on Sept. 4, 2019. For more information on the process, please visit the AG’s website.

The personal policy views of the Attorney General or any members of her office play no role in the certification decisions. AG Healey welcomes public input on whether a petition meets the constitutional requirements for certification, and those who are interested in participating in the review process can email ballotquestions@mass.gov.

Following certification, proponents of proposed laws are required to gather and file the signatures of 80,239 registered voters by Dec. 4, 2019. Once these signatures are collected, the proposal is sent to the state Legislature in January 2020 to enact before the first Wednesday in May 2020. If the Legislature fails to enact the proposal, proponents must gather an additional 13,374 signatures from registered voters by the first Wednesday in July 2020 to place the initiative on the November 2020 ballot.

The process for proposed constitutional amendments is different, requiring approval by at least 25 percent of two joint sessions of the Legislature before appearing on the November 2022 ballot.

The Massachusetts Constitution requires that proposed initiatives be in proper form for submission to voters, not be substantially the same as any measure on the ballot in either of the two preceding statewide elections, contain only subjects that are related to each other or mutually dependent, and not involve a narrow set of subjects that are specifically excluded from the ballot initiative process by the Massachusetts Constitution.

For example, a petition cannot be approved if it relates to religion, religious practices or religious institutions; the powers, creation or abolition of the courts; the appointment, compensation or tenure of judges; a specific appropriation of funds from the state treasury; or if it infringes on other protected constitutional rights, such as trial by jury, freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

Voters who take issue with the Attorney General’s certification decisions can ask the Supreme Judicial Court for a review.

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Media Contact for AG Healey’s Office Receives 16 Initiative Petitions Proposing 13 Laws and 3 Constitutional Amendments

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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