While the governors' races in New Jersey and Virginia got most of the headlines, other state races around the country delivered a mixed message by voters on a number of issues. Read more about anti-tax forces continue to fail at the ballot box, a split vote on gay and lesbian unions, how voters continue to support public investments, and more.
Maine's voters approved a measure by a margin of 59% to 41% to make it the fifth state to allow retail pot dispensaries, expanding its existing ten year-old medical marijuana law. Maine now joins California, Colorado, New Mexico and Rhode Island
which allow for places where medical marijuana patients can legally buy
pot. Unlike California's more free-wheeling system, Maine law will
require that dispensaries be licensed by the state and more narrowly
defines medical conditions for which patients can be prescribed pot.
Along with giving a roundup of the range of initiatives on the ballot in this off-year election, this Dispatch will give special focus to the campaigns against TABOR and defending relationship equality laws.
A story from Maine offers up another reason why we need the choice of a
public health insurance option, and it's a doozy. Anthem Blue Cross
and Blue Shield of Maine, a subsidiary of the insurance giant Wellpoint, is suing the State of Maine
because the insurance commissioner refused to approve its request for a
rate increase of 18.5% for its individual products, which included a
guaranteed 3% profit. Commissioner Mila Koffman found Anthem's request
"excessive" and approved a 10.9% average increase in premiums.