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Greenfield Recorder – SJC Confirms Driver Questions Eligible for Ballot

Greenfield Recorder – SJC Confirms Driver Questions Eligible for Ballot

The John Adams Courthouse is shown from Pemberton Square in Boston.

The John Adams Courthouse is shown from Pemberton Square in Boston.
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

BOSTON — A pair of potential ballot questions reshaping the work landscape for app-based drivers will be able to move forward, the state’s highest court ruled Thursday, clearing the way for voters to make decisions with national implications.

The Supreme Court ruled all five versions of an industry-backed measure that seeks to define drivers as independent contractors, not employees, as well as a union-backed proposal that would allow drivers to organize and negotiate collectively.

Companies supporting the independent contractor measure have said, including during oral arguments before the court, that they will submit only a draft of the question for a vote. In their opinion, the SJC justices said Thursday that they retain the authority to withdraw their favorable ruling if the campaign puts more than one question on the ballot.

Opponents of both questions challenged the attorney general’s decision to certify them as up for a vote, arguing that each proposal improperly combines topics too disparate to be considered with a single “yes” or “no” vote.

But the justices said each proposal properly addresses an interconnected matter, even if the material is dense and complicated. It’s a different result than two years ago, when the court considered an earlier version of the independent contractor question.

The justices also ruled Thursday that the official title and one-sentence summary of another question that would eliminate the use of MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) exams as a graduation requirement is not misleading, eliminating challenges from both sides of that debate .