September 27, 2022 By Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham voters will consider four separate ballot measures on the Nov. 8 state election ballot: whether to add an additional tax on income over $1 million; change the dental insurance regulation; expand accessibility of retail alcohol licensing; and allow Massachusetts residents who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain a driver’s license or permit if they meet the other requirements for doing so.
Hingham voters will also consider local debt exclusion ballot questions for the proposed new Foster School and public safety facility project. (More information to come.)
Question 1 -- This proposed amendment to the Constitution would establish an additional 4% state income tax on that portion of annual taxable income in excess of $1 million.
Revenues from this tax would be used, subject to appropriation by the state legislature, for public education, public colleges and universities, and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, and public transportation. The proposed amendment would apply to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2023.
A YES VOTE would amend the state Constitution to impose an additional 4% tax on that portion of incomes over one million dollars to be used, subject to appropriation by the state legislature, on education and transportation.
A NO VOTE would make no change in the state Constitution relative to income tax.
Question 2 -- This proposed law would direct the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Insurance to approve or disapprove the rates of dental benefit plans and would require that a dental insurance carrier meet an annual aggregate medical loss ratio for its covered dental benefit plans of 83 percent.
If a carrier’s annual aggregate medical loss ratio is less than 83 percent, the carrier would be required to refund the excess premiums to its covered individuals and groups. The proposed law would allow the Commissioner to waive or adjust the refunds only if it is determined that issuing refunds would result in financial impairment for the carrier.
The proposed law would apply to dental benefit plans regardless of whether they are issued directly by a carrier, through the Health Connector, or through an intermediary.
WHAT YOUR VOTE WILL DO
A YES VOTE would regulate dental insurance rates, which would include requiring companies to spend at least 83% of premiums on member dental expenses and quality improvements instead of administrative expenses, and by making other changes to dental insurance regulations.
A NO VOTE would make no change in the current law relative to the regulations that apply to dental insurance companies.
Question 3 - would increase the statewide limits on the combined number of licenses for the sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption (including licenses for “all alcoholic beverages” and for “wines and malt beverages”) that any one retailer could own or control -- from 9 to 12 licenses in 2023; to 15 licenses in 2027; and to 18 licenses in 2031 -- related to licenses issued by a Massachusetts community's licensing board.
The proposed law would also require retailers to conduct the sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption through face-to-face transactions and would prohibit automated or self-checkout sales of alcoholic beverages by such retailers.
WHAT YOUR VOTE WILL DO
A YES VOTE would increase the number of licenses a retailer could have for the sale of alcoholic beverages to be consumed off premises, limit the number of “all-alcoholic beverages” licenses that a retailer could acquire, restrict use of self-checkout, and require retailers to accept customers’ out-of-state identification.
A NO VOTE would make no change in the laws governing the retail sale of alcoholic beverages.
Question 4 - would change who is authorized to receive a Massachusetts driver's license, thereby allowing Massachusetts residents who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain a standard driver’s license or learner’s permit if they meet all the other qualifications for a standard license or learner’s permit, including a road test and insurance, and provide proof of their identity, date of birth, and residency.
The law provides that, when processing an application for such a license or learner’s permit or motor vehicle registration, the registrar of motor vehicles may not ask about or create a record of the citizenship or immigration status of the applicant, except as otherwise required by law. This law does not allow people who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain a REAL ID.
The proposed change also requires the registrar and the Secretary of the Commonwealth to establish procedures and regulations to ensure that an applicant for a standard driver’s license or learner’s permit who does not provide proof of lawful presence will not be automatically registered to vote. This proposed law, if passed, would take effect on July 1, 2023.
WHAT YOUR VOTE WILL DO
A YES VOTE would allow Massachusetts residents who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States to obtain a driver’s license or permit if they meet the other requirements for doing so.
A NO VOTE would not.
Visit https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/ for full details about the ballot questions.
Source: Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website.