The off-year elections Tuesday were highlighted by monumental wins in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races, but voters across the U.S. were also deciding ballot initiatives on marijuana, casino gambling, genetically modified foods, gun control and other hot-button issues.
Voters in Katy, Texas, decided financing $69.5 million for a new, 14,000-seat football stadium was a bad idea. The project – if approved- would have given Katy the most expensive stadium in Texas state history. The remaining funds in the $99 million bond package would have gone towards a $25 million expansion of an agricultural sciences center and $4.5 million for a science and technology center.
Harris County voters decided not to approve up to $217 million in bonds to save the crumbling Houston Astrodome and turn it into a convention and event center. The world's first multipurpose domed stadium dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World" once hosted both professional baseball and football games, but will likely have to be torn down.
Texas voters backed a plan to use $2 billion in funds to help meet the future water needs of the state in the wake of its booming population and economy. The money would help pay the borrowing costs on large-scale infrastructure projects, which include creating reservoirs, laying new pipelines and replacing older ones.
Voters around the state approved a constitutional amendment that makes New York the biggest state to allow seven Las Vegas-style casinos on non-Native American lands. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget office said that the state will take in $430 million in new casino revenue, with $238 million to go toward education.
New Jersey voters approved raising the state's minimum wage by $1 to $8.25 an hour. The constitutional amendment, which goes into effect Jan. 1, would also provide for automatic cost-of-living increases as 10 other states already do.
In Sunnyvale, Calif., constituents approved a stringent gun control measure that requires the city's gun owners to report firearm thefts to the police within 48 hours, lock up their guns at home and get rid of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Gun dealers would also have to keep records of ammunition sales. The measure received the attention of outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and critics of the National Rifle Association.
Colorado set another new standard Tuesday when voters approved a 25 percent sales tax on marijuana starting Jan. 1. The hefty sales tax would come in addition to Colorado's 2.9 percent retail sales tax and would generate $33.5 million its first year and $67 million its second in state tax revenue., according to the Colorado Legislative Council. Fifteen percent of the tax would fund public school construction and the remaining 10 percent would go towards regulation of the state's new legal marijuana market.
Eleven rural counties in the northeastern corner of Colorado voted on whether to start the process of seceding from the state and become a 51st state. The measure passed by a large margin in six of the 11 counties, according to The Denver Post. However, secession would have to be approved by the state legislature and then by Congress. The effort is largely a symbolic move by voters in those counties who feel ignored by the state's governor.
Voters in Portland, Maine's largest city, approved a measure offering some legal protection to users of small amounts of marijuana. The ordinance allows people 21 and older to possess as much as 2.5 ounces of marijuana, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Washington voters rejected a measure that would have made the state the first to require labels for foods that were genetically engineered. The measure had initially garnered support of two-thirds of voters in early polls. But opponents - financially backed by Monsanto and other large agribusinesses - won out with one of the most expensive campaigns in the state's history, according to The Seattle Times.
In the city of SeaTac, a ballot measure to create a $15 an hour minimum wage – more than double the national average - took a slim lead, according to early returns. The proposal would raise the minimum wage for hospitality and transportation workers in and around the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Voters in the small Utah community of Hyde Park will have to await the fate of a ballot measure to buy beer within the city's limits, according to the Herald Journal of Logan. Early this morning, about two-thirds of the votes had been counted, leaving a projection unlikely. Hyde Park is among a handful of dry cities left in the state and the proposal has divided the conservative, mostly Mormon town.
Voters in Lansing, Ferndale and Jackson approved measures to decriminalize marijuana and legalize possession, use and transfer of the drug by adults 21 years and older on private property, according to MLive.com.