Voters will decide three propositions Tuesday (11-4-14), ballot measures 2, 3, and 4. Ballot Measure 1, which would have repealed the governor’s oil tax structure, was decided during the primary back in August. Here’s a brief rundown of what other laws citizens may — or may not — pass in this year’s general election.

Ballot Measure 2, if passed, will make it legal for adults over age 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational purposes. It will also establish a mechanism for the state to regulate and tax cultivation facilities, and allow the legislature to create a Marijuana Control Board, which would operate along the lines of the existing Alcohol Control Board.

Long-time residents of the state may experience some déjà vu over this proposition. It’s the third time in 15 years that voters have attempted to decriminalize marijuana by initiative, most recently in 2004 and 2000. Medical marijuana was approved by voters in Alaska in 1998. If voters pass prop 2 today, Alaska would join a small roster of states — just Colorado and Washington so far — which have legalized and taxed marijuana. Voters in Oregon and the District of Columbia are considering similar measures today.

Ballot Measure 3 would raise the minimum wage. Right now, Alaska’s minimum wage is $7.75 an hour. The measure would raise it to $8.75 an hour next year, and to $9.75 an hour the year after that, and peg it to inflation. It would also require that Alaska’s minimum wage always remain at least a dollar above the federal minimum wage.

The final ballot proposition before voters today is described as “An Act Providing for Protection of Bristol Bay Wild Salmon and Waters.” And although it’s sometimes called the “Alaska Bristol Bay Mining Ban,” strictly speaking Ballot Measure 4 would not ban mining.

Instead, if passed by voters, the measure would require the legislature to approve “large-scale metallic sulfide mines” in the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve.

The BBFR was created by the legislature in 1972 in response to the rapid development of oil resources in the state. The law required any potential drilling in the area — home to the state’s largest sockeye salmon run — to be first approved by the legislature.

Ballot Measure 4 would extend that legislative authority to include large-scale mining — defined as disturbing more than 640 acres of land.

So a vote for Ballot Measure 4 will not necessarily block mining in Bristol Bay, and a vote against it will not necessarily open the door to a massive proposed development like the Pebble Mine. It only gives the legislature — and indirectly, voters — the authority to intervene.

The ballot sponsor, Bristol Bay Forever, is clearly taking a lesson from a similar measure in 2008 which targeted the Pebble Mine more directly, and would have banned most toxic discharges produced by open-pit mines. That measure failed to win voter approval, 56 to 44 percent.