Massachusetts AG certifies charter school, abortion-related ballot petitions

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BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey on Wednesday declined to certify 10 petitions for ballot measures, meaning voters will not have the opportunity in 2016 to weigh in on matters such as legalizing and regulating the purchase of fireworks and subjecting the state Legislature to open meeting laws.

There is still a chance, however, that voters will have a chance to decide whether to lift the cap on the number of charter schools, legalize marijuana use or amend the state constitution to say that public funding of abortions is not constitutionally required.

The deadline to file petitions was Aug. 5.

A full list of the certified petitions can be found on the state Office of the Attorney General website. The site also lists the 10 initiatives that failed certification and notes the reasoning behind each decision.

According to a press release issued by Healey’s office, the 10 petitions that did not qualify for certification were dismissed because they failed to “meet the requirements outlined in the (state) constitution.”

“Today’s decisions are based strictly on the AG office’s constitutional review under Article 48 (of the state constitution) and do not represent the office’s support or opposition to the merits of the petitions,” Healey’s release states.

Backers of the certified petitions now have until Dec. 2 to gather and file signatures from approximately 64,750 registered voters.

If the proposed measures receive enough certified signatures, the petitions will be forwarded to the state Legislature. If lawmakers fail to act on the measures by the first Wednesday in May 2016, supporters will have an opportunity to gather still more signatures to put the measure on the November 2016 ballot.

With 35 separate petitions filed, the year 2015 features the highest total in nearly 20 years. Records show that in 1994 voters filed 42 petitions, of which seven made it on to the ballot.

Contact Evan Lips at [email protected] or on Twitter at @evanmlips


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