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Massachusetts Secretary of State Announces Three Controversial Ballot Questions

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin recently announced three initiatives that would be included on the upcoming November ballot. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Galvin on Wednesday announced that voters will be the ones to decide on three controversial ballot questions this November.

Item 1 – the Right to Repair Bill – was advocated by the Right to Repair Coalition. Art Kinsman, spokesman of the Coalition , said that the ballot question seeks to allow owners and independent auto repair shops to have access to the same automobile information that car dealerships have….

Opposing the measure is the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, who say the measure is unnecessary. Spokesman Dan Gage says approval of the measure could be detrimental to the auto industry and consumer…

The second question that will appear on the ballot is the question of allowing doctors to administer life-ending drugs to a terminally ill patient with written consent. The so-called Death with Dignity Act is supported by Dignity 2012 – a coalition of doctors and advocates across the state.  Stephen Crawford, from the Dignity 2012 campaign, provided WAMC with a statement:

“We are confident that voters in the Commonwealth will vote yes on Question Two, The Death with Dignity Initiative, in order to provide the terminally ill with dignity and control in their final days. “

Opposed to the measure are groups including Massachusetts Alliance for Doctor Prescribed Suicide.

The Massachusetts Medical Society has taken a stance against assisted suicide, but did not supply a statement on the ballot initiative itself, says spokesman Rick Gulla…

And Item 3 is the would allow those with a prescription to obtain medical marijuana for treatment of debilitating disease. The New England Coalition for Cancer Survivorship supports the measure. President, Linda Brantley says she is confident the measure will pass this Fall…

Opposing Item 3 is Heidi Heilman of the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance. She says that the legalization of medical marijuana would create a legal conflict between state and federal authorities, and that it would lead to widespread abuse.

Heilman did mention that her group would support an FDA controlled drug derived from marijuana.

All three items will appear on the ballot in November.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.