Updated with election results
Interfaith Power & Light affiliates in several states are working this fall on ballot measures that would advance the causes of healthy food, clean energy jobs, higher renewable energy use, more effective government, and land preservation all of which can help build a stable climate.
California Interfaith Power & Light has endorsed Propositions 37 and 39. Proposition 37 would make California the first state in the nation to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. Prop 37 would require that, if raw or processed food for sale is made from plants or animals with genetically altered material, then that food must be labeled as such. It would also prohibit such food as being labeled “natural.” It has drawn strong faith community support. Update: Proposition 37 didn’t pass, but it advanced the idea that we should know more about what is in our food. Here’s a post-election analysis.
Proposition 39 would close a loophole allowing companies based out of state to calculate their income tax on the number of employees they have in California. Prop 39 would require these out-of-state-based businesses to pay taxes the same way California-based companies do, based on the percentage of their total sales they make in California. It would also create a Clean Energy Job Creation Fund and direct up to $550 million each year for five years into energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on public buildings like solar panels on school roofs. Update: Proposition 39 passed handily, with 60 percent of the vote.
Michigan Interfaith Power & Light has organized the state’s diverse faith community behind Proposal 3, a renewable energy standard that would boost Michigan’s renewable energy standard to 25 percent by the year 2025, making it one of the year’s key clean-energy votes. A coalition of more than 50 faith voices is speaking out for the proposal, which would help launch clean energy businesses and reduce the $1.7 billion the state spends annually to import coal from other states. For many Michiganders of faith, Proposal 3 is a matter of protecting vulnerable people from the air pollution and contaminated water caused by the state’s reliance on coal. Update: Proposal 3 lost, but a post-election poll showed that voters still support renewable energy.
New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light is raising awareness of three state constitutional amendments that would reform the state’s Public Regulation Commission, which has oversight over a broad portfolio of utilities, transportation companies, transmission and pipeline companies, insurance companies, and more. Through Amendments 2, 3, and 4, reformers want to raise the qualifications necessary to be a commissioner; transfer the PRC’s corporate registration duties to the Secretary of State; and transfer insurance regulation from the PRC to a Superintendent of Insurance appointed by an independent Insurance Nominating Committee. Update: The amendments all passed.
Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light, working as part of the Environment Council of Rhode Island, is supporting Ballot Measure 5 (“Clean Water Finance Agency Bonds”) and Ballot Measure 6 (“Environmental Management Bonds”). The first would authorize the state government to issue bonds to finance wastewater infrastructure projects and drinking water infrastructure projects. The second would help preserve open space and prevent the commercial development of existing farms. Update: Both measures passed.