Seven proposed ballot questions landed in front of the Legislature on Wednesday, handing lawmakers a series of decisions on whether to act or remain idle on half a dozen of the most pressing policy issues.
Secretary of State William Galvin shipped the potential measures to the House and Senate after certifying that campaigns behind each of them collected signatures from at least 74,574 registered voters.
Measures that cleared the first major signature-gathering hurdle would explicitly allow the state auditor to audit the Legislature (94,404 signatures certified); decouple MCAS exams from high school graduation requirements (101,511); allow drivers for platforms like Uber and Lyft to unionize (83,788); eliminate the separate, lower minimum wage for tipped workers (84,804); and legalize natural psychedelic substances (96,277). The list also includes two versions of an industry-backed question deeming app-based drivers as independent contractors while giving them some new benefits (91,666 and 90,112 certified signatures).
Galvin's office said another three ballot questions reframing the relationship between app-based drivers and the companies that hire them "are expected" to head to the Legislature later this month once his staff finishes reviewing the petitions.
Lawmakers have three options for each question: approve it as drafted, suggest a substitute version or take no action. If they do not act by April 30, campaigns will need to collect another 12,429 voter signatures and file them with local officials by June 19, then the secretary of state's office by July 3.
Measures that clear that hurdle -- and any potential court challenges, which frequently disrupt ballot question campaigns -- can go before voters at the Nov. 5, 2024 statewide election.