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Denied! These 2018 ballot questions were rejected

Steve Tougas’s initiative petition to end all tolling in the state became Wednesday one of seven initiative petitions that Healey did not certify for the statewide ballot.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff/File 2017
Steve Tougas’s initiative petition to end all tolling in the state became Wednesday one of seven initiative petitions that Healey did not certify for the statewide ballot.

Steve Tougas saw it coming.

The lead advocate of an initiative petition to “end all tolling” in the state had a premonition, based on a nearly 20-year-old court ruling, that his ballot effort would not pass muster with Attorney General Maura Healey.

“I kind of knew,” Tougas said. Indeed, on Wednesday, his became one of seven initiative petitions that Healey did not certify for the statewide ballot. Twenty-one measures received certification, and must clear a series of additional hurdles before landing on the ballot.

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Healey’s office said the proposal would have resulted in the “uncompensated taking of property.”

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“The petition contains no provision to compensate bondholders for the loss” of toll revenues, Healey lieutenant Juliana deHaan Rice wrote in an explanation.

It was not the first disappointment for Tougas, who had worked on an effort to end the state’s adoption of Common Core educational standards.

“I felt like my favorite pet died” when the state’s high court last year threw out the ballot initiative to end the classroom standards system. “They basically overruled the will of the people,” said Tougas, a Quincy Republican.

One of the other rejected proposals would have placed a cap on the number of patients that could be assigned to nurses in hospitals, although a companion measure was certified.

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Another would have sought to ensure “no foreign influence on the political process” but was ruled out because it was “inconsistent with freedom of speech.”

A proposed land reform law was “not in proper form.” An initiative seeking to minimize out-of-pocket payments for holistic health care suffered the same fate. Same for one raising the minimum wage, although a separate minimum wage boost, to $15 per hour by 2022, did win approval.

Tougas, for one, is not swearing off future ballot fights.

“If something tyrannical should end up popping up, I guess I’ll fight it,” said Tougas, a candidate for Quincy’s city council. “We’ll see.”

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at jim.osullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.