Chicago Voters Want to Ban Straws and Use Weed Sales to Pay for Schools

Chicago voters want to ban plastic straws, use weed sales to pay for schools, and create a property tax exemption for people who've lived in their home for at least 10 years and make less than $100,000 a year.

Voters weighed in on these issues via three referendum questions on all ballots across Chicago for the Nov. 6 election.

On whether or not plastic straws should be banned within corporate city limits, 55 percent of voters - more than 420,000 people - said yes.

Voters were also asked "In the event marijuana is legalized, should the City of Chicago appropriate revenue from the sale of marijuana to increase funding for Chicago Public Schools and for mental health services?"

On that question, more than 88 percent of respondents, which was roughly 677,000 people, cast their ballots in favor.

A third referendum question asked if the city should seek that the state of Illinois "create a homeowners' property tax exemption for families in municipalities of over 500,000 that have lived in their home for over 10 years and whose income is under $100,000."

In that regard, 593,939 people, which came out to 79 percent, were supportive of the idea.

All of the questions were solely advisory, meaning no action will automatically be taken. While the results are not legally binding, they served to provide lawmakers with insight into support for and next steps in each of the areas polled.

All Chicago voters also saw three questions asked of every Cook County voter - though two of the proposals are already part of Chicago's municipal code in some form.

Those two questions were as follows:

Shall the minimum wage in your municipality match the $13 per hour Cook County minimum wage law for adults over the age of 18 by July 1, 2020, and be indexed to the consumer price index after that?

Shall your municipality match the Cook County earned sick time law which allows for workers to earn up to 40 hours (5 days) of sick time a year to take care of their own health or a family member’s health?

The City Council passed an ordinance in 2014 that has been gradually raising the minimum wage each year to reach $13 per hour by 2019, then increasing with the consumer price index after that. And in 2017, City Council passed an ordinance requiring every employer to provide workers the right to accrue and use up to five paid six days per year, earned at a minimum rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked.

But across the county, support for both was high - garnering 80 percent and 85 percent support of the 865,000 ballots cast, respectively.

The third question asked countywide was whether or not the state should "strengthen penalties for the illegal trafficking of firearms and require all gun dealers to be certified by the state."

An overwhelming 90 percent of voters said yes.

Like the city's referenda, responses to the county's questions were also non-binding. 

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