The votes are in, and Republicans now control both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, but as ScienceInsider reported earlier, there were also a number of science-related items on state ballots yesterday. Here’s how things shook out:
In Colorado and Oregon, voters rejected referenda that would have required genetically modified foods to be labeled. In Colorado, Proposition 105 was defeated by roughly a 2-1 ratio, with the latest numbers showing 66.4% of some 1,844,197 voters checking the “no” box. Oregon’s vote was much closer, as Measure 92 was defeated by just 1.3% of 1,334,791 votes cast, 50.7% to 49.3%.
In Michigan, voters defeated by significant margins propositions to allow hunting of the state’s wolves. In spite of the vote, however, the matter isn’t settled. State courts will have to decide whether a measure passed by the legislature, and designed to circumvent yesterday’s vote, is constitutional. If courts uphold that measure, wolf hunting will be allowed.
In Maine, voters rejected a measure that would have barred the use of food baits to attract bears, by a vote of 52.7% to 47.3%. Bear biologists had come out against the measure, arguing that baiting was an important tool for managing problem bears and research.
In other states:
Alaska: Voters approved Ballot Measure 4, 65.3% to 34.7%, requiring legislative approval of a controversial gold mine proposed for the salmon-rich Bristol Bay area.
Arizona: Voters approved Proposition 303, 78.3% to 21.7%, permitting terminally ill patients and their doctors to use experimental treatments that have completed only preliminary phase I safety and dose trials.
Maine: Voters approved Question 2, 60.6% to 39.4%, providing $8 million in bonds to help create an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory administered by the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension service.
Maine: Voters approved Question 4, 63.1% to 36.9%, providing $10 million in bonds, to be matched by $11 million in private funds, to build a genomics and disease research center at the Maine Technology Institute in Brunswick.
Maine: Voters approved Question 5, 51.7% to 48.3%, providing $3 million in bonds, to be matched by $5.7 million in private funds, to modernize and expand a biological laboratory specializing in tissue repair and regeneration.
Rhode Island: Voters approved Question 4, 63.4% to 36.6% providing $125 million in bonds for a College of Engineering building at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston.