Op-Ed: Tufts Republicans endorse on Massachusetts ballot questions

Members of the Tufts Republicans voted to endorse Governor Charlie Baker for reelection, as well as take positions on each of the three Massachusetts ballot questions this year. Question 1 deals with nurse-to-patient ratios, Question 2 deals with campaign finance and Question 3 deals with gender identity discrimination. The following are the endorsements:

Question 1: No

This question would impose limits on the number of patients a nurse is assigned at any time. Intended to reduce the work burden on individual nurses and improve public safety, these limits have several unintended consequences. For example, this policy would increase the cost of medical care by hundreds of millions of dollars, increasing premiums for patients. Further, there already exists a shortage of nurses, and this proposal, by lowering nurses’ availability, would even further constrain supply. Lastly, this new requirement will impose disproportionately higher costs on smaller hospitals and care providers. Such a change will only worsen the problem of healthcare consolidation, in which fewer and fewer hospitals have gained a larger market share and can therefore raise prices. For all these reasons, we endorse a “no” vote.

Question 2: No

This question would establish a citizen commission to study campaign finance and recommend potential amendments to the Constitution that would establish that corporations do not have the same constitutional rights as citizens. We have multiple issues with this proposal. The Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2010) decision created a system that was fair and clear; it gave individuals, unions and corporations the same rights and opportunities. This is an issue of free speech. Campaign finance laws are commonly used to silence political opposition, and we believe limiting political speech is a dangerous precedent to set. Secondly, we have issues with the idea of a commission whose members are appointed by politically connected officials, such as the governor, secretary of state and attorney general, as well politicians such as the Senate majority leader and speaker of House. Having high-level Beacon Hill officials appoint a commission simply to write a report is a waste of time and resources. Citizens United is settled law. For all these reasons, we endorse a “no” vote.

Question 3: Yes

This question is a referendum on a 2016 law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in public places. Massachusetts should continue its important role in advancing equality for transgender individuals. Opponents of the anti-discrimination law claim that it places women in danger in public restrooms, but since the law has gone into effect, there has been no increase​ in safety incidents in places such as restrooms. Such concerns are driven by baseless fearmongering. We, in concurrence with Governor Baker’s position on this issue, endorse a “yes” vote.