Ballot Board Sets Language For Only Statewide Ballot Issue, On Drug Treatment And Prison Time

Aug 22, 2018

The panel that decides the wording of statewide ballot issues has agreed on the language for the only one voters will see this fall.  It’s a resolution to a dispute over Issue 1, which supporters say will prioritize treatment over prison for drug offenders, but opponents say will make communities more dangerous.

Both sides came in with serious concerns about small but important words such as “all” and “of”, but also over lines about criminal convictions that would be affected and the amount of drugs involved. The ballot board listened and recommended some changes. And in what is likely the last time before the election that this will happen, there was agreement between Issue 1 supporter Jeff Jacobson, who said: “I can’t object to any of the changes, even the ones that are not favorable to us", and opponent Paul Pfeifer, who said: “It was an excellent compromise.”

The amendment would allow for reduced sentences for inmates who participate in certain programs and were not convicted of murder, rape or child molestation. And it would mandate that buying, possessing or using fentanyl, heroin and other drugs be misdemeanors and not felonies.