Articles Posted in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

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At issue in these two consolidated appeals was an initiative petition that proposed to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana and products that contain marijuana concentrate. In the first case (Hensley case) Plaintiffs claimed that the Attorney General erred in certifying the petition for inclusion on the ballot under article 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution because it contained two unrelated subjects, because the Attorney General’s summary was not fair, and because the title and one-sentence statements were misleading. In the second case (Allen case) Plaintiffs challenged the title and one-sentence statements but on different grounds from those alleged by the Hensley plaintiffs. The Supreme Judicial Court ordered the Attorney General and Secretary of the Commonwealth to amend the title and statement, holding (1) the Attorney General did not err in certifying the petition for inclusion on the ballot because the petition contains only related subjects and the summary of the petition is fair; but (2) the petition’s title and the one-sentence statement describing the effect of a “yes” vote are misleading, in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 54, 53. View "Hensley v. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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On August 5, 2015, sixteen voters submitted Initiative Petition 15-12 to the Attorney General. The petition (1) sought to end the use of the Common Core State Standards in defining the educational curriculum of publicly funded elementary and secondary students in the Commonwealth, and (2) addressed the standardized testing process used in Massachusetts school districts. The Attorney General certified to the Secretary of the Commonwealth that the petition was in the proper form and met the requirements of article 48, The Initiative, II, section 3 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution. On January 22, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking to quash the certification of the petition and to enjoin the Secretary from including the substance of the proposed measure on the November, 2016 ballot. The Supreme Judicial Court granted the requested relief, holding that the Attorney General’s certification of Initiative Petition 15-12 did not comply with article 48 because it contained provisions that were not related or mutually dependent. View "Gray v. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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Eugene McCain filed an initiative petition that sought to amend Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 23K to authorize the Gaming Commission to award one additional license for a slot machine parlor. The Attorney General certified the petition. Plaintiffs, ten registered voters and residents of Suffolk County, brought an action against the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Commonwealth, contending that the petition violated tw restrictions set forth in Article 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution, which sets forth certain standards for initiative petitions. The Supreme Judicial Court denied relief, holding that the petition did not violate Article 48’s restrictions and was therefore properly certified by the Attorney General. View "Bogertman v. Attorney General" on Justia Law