Senator Lewis Appointed to Serve on Ballot Question Special Committee

BOSTON—State Senator Jason Lewis has been appointed by Senate President Karen Spilka to serve on the newly created Special Joint Committee on Initiative Petitions. This committee is charged with reviewing and making recommendations to the full legislature on citizen initiative petitions that may appear as ballot questions in the November 2024 statewide elections.

The topics of these initiative petitions are: (1) removing the MCAS as a high school graduation requirement; (2) defining rideshare driver rights, including the right to unionize; (3) legalizing and regulating natural psychedelic substances; (4) authorizing the state auditor to audit the legislature; and (5) requiring the full minimum wage for tipped workers.

The eight-member special joint committee, comprised of four lawmakers each from the Senate and the House of Representatives, will delve into each of the topics under consideration.

“I’m honored to be appointed to serve on this special committee that is tasked with reviewing the complex set of potential 2024 ballot questions,” said State Senator Jason Lewis, who also serves as the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “In 2018, I was proud to help negotiate the successful resolution of several pending ballot questions, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and creating a universal paid family and medical leave program for Massachusetts residents.” 

The Massachusetts Constitution provides residents with a pathway to pass laws directly by popular vote. Subject to review by the Attorney General, supporters of ballot questions must submit valid signatures from residents across the Commonwealth who support advancing a proposal. These initiative petitions are then transmitted to the state legislature which must consider the petitions and may choose to, among other options, decline to act on the proposal and allow the ballot question process to move forward, work with petitioners on a compromise, or order an alternative ballot question to be printed alongside the proposal for voter consideration. 

After legislative review, if the legislature declines to act on a ballot question or pass a compromise version, supporters of the proposal must then gather another round of additional signatures for submission to the Secretary of the Commonwealth in order for the question to be presented to voters in the statewide election in November.