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Photo: Stephen Morton/Getty Images

Voters across the country weighed in on hundreds of ballot initiatives in this year’s midterm cycle on politically-charged issues such as abortion, marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform.

The big picture: The 2018 midterm elections produced a divided Congress that's emblematic of a split America. Amid partisan deadlock in Washington, states have largely become battlegrounds on such controversial issues.

Some notable measures:

Marijuana legalization: Michigan became the 10th state to legalize marijuana — including the District of Columbia — and first midwestern state to do so for recreational use. North Dakota rejected a similar measure, but voters in Missouri approved the legalization of medical marijuana.

Abortion: The matter was on the ballot in three states. In Oregon, voters defeated a measure that would have banned the use of public funds to pay for abortion coverage. Alabama and West Virginia approved sweeping anti-abortion language to the states’ constitution, proclaiming that women have no right to perform the procedure.

  • However, the measures in both states will not affect abortion access unless the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

Transgender rights: Massachusetts upheld a 2016 law that protects transgender people from discrimination in public places, including restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and stores.

Minimum wage: Arkansas will now raise the wage from $8.50 an hour to $11 by 2021. Missouri's hourly minimum will gradually rise from $7.85 to $12 hour by 2023.

Criminal justice reform: Louisiana approved a measure to require a unanimous jury for convictions, overturning a Jim Crow-era law that allowed for split juries.

Medicaid expansion: Three red states — Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah — approved initiatives to adopt the Affordable Care Act's expansion of Medicaid.

Daylight saving: Californians decided they no longer want to reset clocks twice a year. A measure they approved would implement a permanent year-round daylight saving time. But, it requires a two-thirds vote from the state legislature and a change in federal law to go into effect.

Homelessness: San Francisco will impose tax on big businesses to pay for new services to help curb the city's increasing homelessness crisis. The measure's approval is a major defeat for techies like Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus, and Stripe CEO Patrick Collision who were against the measure.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Trump supporter found with pipe bombs accused of plot to attack Democrats

Five improvised explosive devices that the FBI says "were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly." Photo: FBI/Justice Department

The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

Driving the news: Prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers after finding weapons including five pipe bombs, 49 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following a Jan. 15 search of his Napa County home and auto repair business. His alleged goal was to ensure former President Trump remained in office.

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."