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Term Limits, Anti-Crime Laws Get OK : Initiatives: Voters in several states reject gambling measures. Handgun bans are defeated in two Wisconsin communities.

November 09, 1994| From Associated Press

Voters unleashed their famously foul mood Tuesday, cracking down on crime and long-term politicians and sticking to their guns in Milwaukee.

Voters in Maine, Nebraska, Nevada and the District of Columbia approved congressional term limits.

By a 4-to-1 landslide, Georgia voters approved the nation's toughest sentencing law, mandating life in prison for a second violent felony. California voters gave firm approval to a law already on the books, ordering 25 years-to-life for three-time serious felons. Passage makes it virtually impossible for lawmakers to alter the law without another ballot referendum.

Measures to limit gay rights were failing by narrow margins in Idaho and Oregon in early returns, but voters in a Florida county passed a measure to undo gay-rights protection.

Floridians turned down a proposal to allow up to 47 casinos. Voters rejected the measure by an almost 2-to-1 margin despite a $16.7-million campaign by casino proponents, the most expensive campaign in state history.

Rhode Island voters said no to proposals to permit casinos in four cities and towns, including the state capital, Providence, and appeared close to rejecting a proposal for a fifth in West Greenwich, which the Narragansett Indians hoped to build. The Narragansetts may still build a casino without voter approval, but it would have to be on their own land in Charlestown, 25 miles away.

In addition to Rhode Island and Florida, questions asking voters to allow casinos appeared on ballots in Massachusetts, Colorado and the Navajo Reservation.

Other gambling measures included proposals to allow slot machines in Colorado airports and on Missouri riverboats and to allow assorted games of chance in any Wyoming counties that approve them.

Most of South Carolina's popular video poker games may continue pouring out cash. Voters in all but nine of the state's 46 counties appeared ready to keep the status quo, rejecting a ballot proposal to stop the payouts.

"It was a common-sense vote," said John Reyelt, the owner of the Gold Rush Saloon in Myrtle Beach.

Term limits, the preferred remedy for the '90s voter sick of long-time incumbents, were on ballots in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah, the District of Columbia and several cities and counties.

Nebraskans' enthusiasm for term limits matched their ardor for Republican Rep. Doug Bereuter. He won a ninth term despite the ballot measure's limit of three consecutive terms for future members of Congress.

Nebraskans had to tackle the issue for a second time because the required number of petition signatures was miscalculated when term limits were approved in 1992.

Washington, D.C., voters approved term limits for the mayor, city council and school board.

Crime was addressed around the country in measures intended largely to mete out more punishment.

Milwaukee and Kenosha voters rejected proposed handgun bans. But nearby Shorewood, Wis., approved such a ban in the form of a non-binding referendum.

Measures to allow crime victims to have a greater role in prosecuting offenders appeared headed for passage in Ohio and Maryland in early voting.

Two anti-gay-rights measures--Oregon's Measure 13 and Idaho's Proposition 1--would bar state and local governments from enacting laws that shield gays from discrimination.

They also would outlaw programs in public institutions, such as schools, that suggest homosexuality is acceptable. And they would require libraries to keep books on homosexuality away from minors.

With only a few returns tallied in each state, the Idaho measure was opposed by 52% of voters, the Oregon measure by 54%.

The Florida measure--on the ballot in Alachua County, home of the University of Florida at Gainesville--repeals existing gay-rights protection. It was favored by 57% of voters.

Another ballot measure with wide interest was Oregon's proposal to allow doctors to prescribe lethal medication for the terminally ill. Unlike assisted suicide, this alternative proposed to give dying patients full responsibility for taking their lives.

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