Down ballot questions hold weight too
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
As with every presidential election, there will be additional state questions on the 2016 ballot. This year’s state questions vary from education, agriculture and the death penalty to mention a few highlights.
The first of seven bills on the ballot is State Question 776. Also known as the Oklahoma Death Penalty Amendment, this prompts voters to vote in favor of or against Oklahoma legislature to provide for any legal method of administering the death penalty. Likewise, the death penalty would not be labeled as cruel and unusual punishment.
This question would add a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution stating all death penalties are in effect including the current methods of electrocution and lethal injection. The amendment would allow methods of execution to be changed at any point in time.
The second question is State Question 777, challenging Oklahoma’s right to farm. This amendment proposes that the state would allow the farming industry to make its own decisions when tending to agriculture and livestock. Through passing this amendment, it would allow farmers to defend to carry out any method or procedure of farming and raising livestock. By declining this amendment, regulations for food and water quality, environmental protections, and animal cruelty would be issued for all farmers to abide by.
State Question 779 proposes a one percent sales tax that would benefit Oklahoma’s education fund. In addition to increasing the education fund, this would increase teacher salaries by at least $5,000 and would require an annual audit of each school district’s use of its state funding.
The current sales tax in Oklahoma is 4.5 percent; therefore the bill would increase the sales tax to 5.5 percent.
The fourth question on the ballot is 780 which is in regard to reclassifying non-violent and theft crimes as misdemeanors rather than felonies. If approved, these crimes will have a maximum penalty of serving in prison for a year and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Reducing the sentence of these crimes would reduce the number of people in a prison resulting in state prisons saving money. State question 781 refers to where this saved money would be distributed to. According to the proposed bill, each state prison would be evaluated by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to determine how much money was saved by the prison. This money would then be divided to the population of the each county and claimed by rehabilitative organizations for drug and mental health treatments, job training, and various education programs. This amendment will only go into effect if question 780 is passed.
The passage of State Question 790 would allow Oklahoma to use public money for religious purposes. Oklahoma currently does not allot money for religious purposes directly nor indirectly.
State Question 792 is the final question on the ballot. This proposes the regulation of sales and distribution of alcoholic beverages. This will allow grocery stores and convenience stores to carry full strength beer and wine whereas they are currently prohibited to do so.
Early voting starts today and Election Day is Nov. 8.