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The June 10 referendum explained

It is time for the second set of referendums this year. This time we will be voting on two issues at a national level and two at a local level. The national referendums both address money issues.

The first referendum is entitled: Für krisensicheres Geld: Geldschöpfung allein durch die Nationalbank! Crisis resistant money: cash generation only through the national bank!

The idea behind this initiative is for all money in circulation in Switzerland to originate exclusively from the national bank. This would mean that banks would not be able to loan out more money than they currently have in their coffers. The argument is that this would create a secure environment where only “real” money would be in circulation. The hope is that it would put an end to speculative investments and call for a more social approach to our relationship with money, as well as avoiding Switzerland being a victim of a potential financial crisis such as the one in 2008. It is also asking that the national bank would give this money without receiving any return on investment. Should Switzerland accept this initiative we would be the only country in the world to do so. Unsurprisingly the government is calling for this referendum to be rejected. They argue that since the financial crash in 2008 buffers have been put into place and that it would be too risky to experiment with a whole new financial system.

The second referendum is: Bundesgestz über Geldspiele (Geldspielgesetz). Gambling regulations

Switzerland has a strict gambling policy when it comes to games such as roulette, poker or the lottery but the government is asking that a tighter regulation on online gambling should now be put into place. They argue that in a digital age it is important to have tighter control on what people can gamble on online. So they are calling for online gambling providers to adhere to Swiss rules and apply for a gambling license or risk being banned from selling their games in Switzerland. It is important to know that the government takes a cut from money earned by gambling companies to finance many projects such as sport, culture and other social projects. The opponents are calling this initiative an attempt at censorship arguing that providers who refuse to get a Swiss license will be banned from advertising in the country. The government counters that these measures protects citizens most at risk from gambling addictions and ask that their initiative be approved.

On a local level the first referendum concerns energy regulations (Kantonales Energiegesetz)

The canton’s parliament has put forward new energy regulations to replace the outdated energy regulations from 1989. The rulings will meet the newest energy saving standards:

  • New builds will need to be issued with an energy permit.
  • Each commune can ask that current buildings switch to thermal energy.
  • New builds will have to be build in such a way that their energy consumption is close to nil.
  • Older builds with inefficient energy system will need to use no more than 90% of non renewable energy for their heating systems.
  • Central electrical heaters with water distribution systems will need to switch to energy efficient systems within 15 years.
  • New builds will need to produce, at least partially, their own electricity

Every party except for the SVP are happy to approve this new regulation. Referring to the fact that last year the referendum approving the new energy strategy for 2050 was accepted by 58,5% of the voters, this new regulation would be the first step in implementing this new energy strategy. Obviously the canton is asking people to vote in favour of accepting this new regulation.

The final local referendum concerns health: Für eine sichere Gesundheitsversorgung im ganzen Kanton Luzern: For a safe health care system in the whole canton.

This initiative was put forward by a group calling themselves “Luzern Allianz für Lebensqualität” they want a change in hospital rules and regulations. They are calling for a similar level of quality in services all through the canton, be it in hospitals or emergency wards and that only hospitals who prove that they are offering their employees further education and have access to a cantonal contact person be put on the cantonal list of recommended hospitals. Only the Socialist and the Green party approve this initiative. All other parties argue that there are enough rules and regulations in place already to make sure that there is good service all over the whole region. The town council is asking that people reject this initiative.

So there you have it our direct democracy in action, and if you have read this far then congratulations on taking your integration so seriously!

charlie.hartmann@livinginluzern.swiss

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Living in Luzern organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.

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