Massachusetts Ballot Questions 2018


The Committee to Ensure Safe Patient Care (Yes on 1), is leading the campaign in support of Question 1. The committee raised $8.08 million and spent $8.10 million, including in-kind services. The committee is supported by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which contributed $7.95 million (98.49 percent of the total contributions). The group argues that limits on how many patients a nurse can be assigned to would allow nurses to spend more time with patients and therefore reduce mistakes and readmissions. [2]

The Coalition to Protect Patient Safety (No on 1) is leading the campaign in opposition of Question 1. The committee raised $13.35 million and spent $12.14 million, including in-kind services. The coalition is supported by the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, which contributed $12.68 million (94.97 percent of the total contributions). The group argues that enforcing limits on nurse-patient assignments will increase patient wait times and force hospitals to cut back on services. They also argue it would be too expensive for hospitals to hire more nurses, resulting in hospitals closing down. [3]


Question 2 would establish a 15-member commission called the Citizens Commission Concerning a Constitutional Amendment for Government of the People. The commission would be tasked with advocating for and advising about policies to define inalienable constitutional rights as belonging to individual living human beings, not artificial entities or collections of human beings, and recommending the amendment of the U.S. Constitution to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC. The commission would also urge state legislators to support the ratification of such an amendment. The commission would also be required to develop reports on (1) political and election spending in Massachusetts, (2) the legal ability of the state government to regulate corporations, (4) proposals for federal constitutional amendments, and actions recommended for advancing the proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution.[3]

Of the commission’s 15 members, the governor would appoint three members, the secretary of state would appoint three members, the attorney general would appoint three members, the speaker of the House would appoint three members, and the president of the Senate would appoint three members. Any resident of Massachusetts could apply to serve on the commission. Commissioners would not be paid. [3]

The measure would take effect on January 1, 2019, and the commission’s first report would be due on December 31, 2019.[3]

Proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires (a) approval by a two-thirds majority vote in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate or (b) a constitutional convention requested by the legislatures of two-thirds (34) of the states; the constitutional convention method has not been used for any of the 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution so far. Once proposed by Congress or a convention, an amendment must be ratified by three-fourths (38) of the states.


This law adds gender identity to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in places of public accommodation, resort, or amusement. Such grounds also include race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, disability, and ancestry. A “place of public accommodation, resort or amusement” is defined in existing law as any place that is open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public, such as hotels, stores, restaurants, theaters, sports facilities, and hospitals. “Gender identity” is defined as a person’s sincerely held gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not it is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.

This law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in a person’s admission to or treatment in any place of public accommodation. The law requires any such place that has separate areas for males and females (such as restrooms) to allow access to and full use of those areas consistent with a person’s gender identity. The law also prohibits the owner or manager of a place of public accommodation from using advertising or signage that discriminates on the basis of gender identity.

This law directs the state Commission Against Discrimination to adopt rules or policies and make recommendations to carry out this law. The law also directs the state Attorney General to issue regulations or guidance on referring for legal action any person who asserts gender identity for an improper purpose.

The provisions of this law governing access to places of public accommodation are effective as of October 1, 2016. The remaining provisions are effective as of July 8, 2016.

A YES VOTE would keep in place the current law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in places of public accommodation.

A NO VOTE would repeal this provision of the public accommodation law.[14]
* Information from