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Voters weigh in on state ballot questions

December 3, 2018


Referendum Results

Local 888's Executive Board endorsed a Yes vote on Massachusetts ballot questions 1, 2 and 3. All but the first ballot question sailed to victory.

QUESTION 1: More than 70 percent of voters rejected the ballot measure, which would have set limits on the number of patients that nurses could be required to care for. For example, emergency room RNs could care for no more than five patients at a time, fewer depending on a patient’s condition. California provides a successful example of enacting such a law.

The ballot question was put forward by the Massachusetts Nurses Association and the Committee to Ensure Safe Patient Care.

Opponents of the measure, including the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, then named their industry-backed group the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety – a name that was confusing and seemed to defy common sense. Hospitals spent $25 million on their campaign, more than twice the union’s $12 million, according to The Boston Globe.

QUESTION 2: Over 71 percent of the voters approved the measure, which calls for a state commission to write a report on money in politics. The goal is to support and ultimately enact a campaign finance amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling, which removed many campaign-finance limits and allowed billion-dollar corporations to make unlimited political donations.

QUESTION 3: More than two-thirds of the voters approved keeping in place a 2016 state law that prohibits discrimination against transgender people in places open to the public — including restaurants, hospitals, hotels and sports stadiums. Under the law, transgender people can use a space, such as restrooms, that matches their gender identity. Since the law took effect, there has been no increase in safety incidents in places such as bathrooms.