2018 Year in Review

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Big topics in 2018 included the 2018 midterm elections, the death penalty, euthanasia, felon voting, gay marriage,
gun control, immigration, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and marijuana.

Since 2004, ProCon.org has researched the pros and cons of controversial issues, many of which have been in the news this past year. Below we present our 2018 Year in Review to remind you about some of the events from 2018 that relate to our topics.

2018 Midterm Elections
In the Nov. 6, 2018 midterm elections, Alabama and West Virginia voters supported constitutional amendments in favor of restricting abortion access. Voters in Arkansas and Missouri supported raises to the state minimum wage. In Michigan, voters supported legalizing recreational marijuana. In Florida, voters turned out to support the restoration of the right of those with felony convictions to vote.

Death Penalty
On Oct. 11, 2018, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty, finding that it had been used in an “arbitrary and racially discriminatory manner.” There are now 20 states where the death penalty is illegal.

Physician-Assisted Suicide
In Apr. 2018, Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) legalized physician-assisted suicide bringing the number of states where physician-assisted suicide is legal to seven.

Felon Voting
Not only did voters support the restoration of voting rights for those with felony convictions in Florida, the felon voting debate was renewed in New York when Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an executive order establishing a process to allow felony parolees to vote.

Gay Marriage
In 2018, both the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of gay marriage. Costa Rica and Bermuda both legalized gay marriage in 2018 bringing the total number of countries where gay marriage is legal to 30.

Gun Control
The gun control debate was reignited in Illinois when rural counties in the state declared themselves “sanctuary counties” in response to the legislature’s efforts to pass gun control laws. An Aug. 2018 study published in JAMA found that the United States was ranked 2nd worldwide for gun-related deaths, behind only Brazil.

Immigration
In Feb. 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled that undocumented immigrants can be held in detention indefinitely. In June, the court upheld President Trump’s travel ban. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) remained in effect throughout 2018 while the lower courts or Congress decide its fate.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
On May 14, 2018, the US officially relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, stoking unrest in Gaza and leading to uncertainty about the role of the United States in working toward a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Marijuana
In June 2018, the FDA approved its first marijuana-based drug and Oklahoma became the 30th state to legalize marijuana for medical reasons. Missouri and Utah followed suit after the Nov. 2018 midterm elections bringing the total number of legal medical marijuana states to 33.

In 2018, Vermont and Michigan became the 9th and 10th states to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

On Aug. 6, 2018, ProCon.org hosted a debate on the legalization of marijuana in California as part of the “Pro/Con at the Pier” debate series at the historic Santa Monica Pier.