This year voters in several states are being asked to decide on a variety of issues, including changes to tobacco taxes, vaping regulations, and gambling laws. Reason Foundation has researched and worked on these issues for many years and aims to help voters parse through the complex legality and unintended consequences of the proposals.
The questions posed by these initiatives often hinge on issues of justification of restricting or banning certain consumer behaviors and choices, typically in the name of public health, morality, and public safety. There are also conflicts with personal liberties. In these guides, Reason applies what we have learned over the years about how such measures work in practice with both anticipated and unanticipated outcomes and tradeoffs.
In 2020, voters in South Dakota and Maryland will decide on legalizing sports betting, and to some extent how it would be regulated if legalization is approved. Voters in Colorado will decide on changes to bingo and lottery gaming by charities. Voters in Colorado and Oregon will decide on substantial increases in taxes on tobacco and related products. And in Oklahoma, citizens will decide on a proposed shift in how money from the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement is spent by the state government.
- South Dakota Ballot Initiative Analysis: Amendment B — Legalizes sports betting in the city of Deadwood.
- Maryland Ballot Initiative Analysis: Question 2 — Authorizes sports and events wagering at certain licensed facilities.
- Colorado Ballot Initiative Analysis: Amendment C — Requires charitable organizations to have existed for three years before obtaining a charitable gaming license instead of the currently required five years.
- Colorado Ballot Initiative Analysis: Proposition EE — Increases taxes on tobacco products and creates a new tax on nicotine products such as e-cigarettes.
- Oklahoma Ballot Initiative Analysis: State Question 814 — Decreases payments made to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund from 75 percent to 25 percent and directs the legislature to appropriate money from the fund to secure federal matching funds for the state’s Medicaid program.
- Oregon Ballot Initiative Analysis: Measure 108 — Increases cigarette tax from $1.33 per pack to $3.33 per pack and imposes a tax on e-cigarettes.