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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Three ballot questions pass, one fails in Mass. Midterms.

A rainbow Pride flag flies in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston
Courtesy of Tim Pierce
A rainbow Pride flag flies in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston

The people have voted in favor of ballot Questions One, Two and Four, leading the way for a slate of reforms in the commonwealth that will take effect soon.

Question One, the so-called “millionaire’s tax,” passed with 52% in favor and 48% opposed. Question Two, which focused on how dental insurance coverage works in the state, passed with 71.3%. Question Four, which upholds a law allowing those without proof of residency to receive their driver’s licenses, passed by 53.4%. 

The only measure to fail was Question Three, which regarded alcohol licensing and sales in Mass. The voters chose no by 55%, according to results called by the Associated Press.

Now that it has passed, Question One will create a 4% tax on income over $1 million. The tax will affect about 20,000 yearly and raise an additional $1.2 billion for the state, according to The Boston Globe. The funds are designated constitutionally to go towards education and transportation.

Jeron Mariani, Fair Share for Massachusetts campaign manager, described the vote as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity that was years in the making.”

With a “yes” vote winning the majority, Question Two establishes that dental insurers must have a loss rate of 83%, similar to the required medical insurance loss rate of 85-87%. Dental insurers are now required to spend 83% of their revenue on patient care. The question passed with the largest margin of any of the measures, winning by 42.8%.

The only ballot measure that didn’t pass was Question Three. If passed, it would have outlawed the use of self-checkout stands when buying alcohol. The measure would have also changed the number of liquor licenses available to sellers in the state. Because it did not pass, the current laws will stay the same.

The Massachusetts Package Stores Associations fought in favor of voting yes, arguing that it would defend small liquor stores in Mass. After results came in, Rob Mellion, the executive director of the group, issued a statement about their plans for the future. 

“We will prevail and regroup because we must,” said Mellion in the statement. “The future of locally owned retail and the communities they serve are at stake.”

In the passing of Question Four, Mass. becomes the 12th state with a similar law on the books. It upholds a law passed by the Legislature in June that allows for those without proof of legal residency to get a driver’s license. The measure was initially vetoed by Gov. Charlie Baker, but will now take effect July 1, 2023.

Elizabeth Sweet, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition said the victory was a cause for celebration.

“We are incredibly glad to see that the policy we have long supported – which will ensure that all drivers, regardless of immigration status, take the same road test, meet the same identification requirements, and follow the same rules of the road – will remain law,’’ she said in a statement to The Boston Globe.

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About the Contributor
William Woodring, News Editor | he/him
Will is a senior majoring in public relations. He is originally from Medway, Ma. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, writing, reading, and running. He is interested in political journalism and hopes to go into politics after graduating. Follow Will on Twitter @woodringwill

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Three ballot questions pass, one fails in Mass. Midterms.