Citizen Rights Emergency

It’s an emergency! You may not be able to finish this two-minute commentary before the Marines bust through the door to save us. Or, it could be the Coast Guard. Or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Well, not FEMA. But this is a big deal . . . at least in Maine’s state legislature. What’s the giant emergency, you ask? Are you sitting down? Citizens in Maine just might petition to place an issue on the ballot through the state’s initiative process or use their people’s veto to refer a bill passed by the legislature to a vote.

You see the problem, don’t you? Then people would decide. Not the politicians.

Last year, a group called Fed Up With Taxes put the so-called Dirigo Drink Tax to a vote of the people. In November, Mainers voted to repeal the legislature’s tax.

Some politicians don’t much like uppity voters having government their way. So they want to declare an emergency.

Running to rescue unresponsive government is Representative Mark Bryant, who introduced an emergency bill to require all people who gather petitions to be registered to vote.

There are two problems with Bryant’s bill.

First, it is unconstitutional: Years ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such requirements made no sense — except as a way to unfairly block petitions.

Second, shredding the Constitution doesn’t qualify as an emergency.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jan
    28
    2:35
    PM
    Gerald Corkins

    As a retired Coast Guardsman, I resent your implication that the Coast Guard might be breaking down your door… they would never do that unless it were to save your life. Furthermore, the USCG does not do law enforecement on land unless it is related to maritime facilities, docks, fuel depots, etc. I doubt very much that the Marines would be there either. No military units are permitted to do law enforcement.

  2. Jan
    28
    2:46
    PM
    Timothy James Maki

    Gerald,

    I think Mr. Jacob was “tounge and cheek” with his comment. However, if taken verbatem I see your point.

    Mr. Jacob,

    One thing I very much agree with is we must protect our individual rights.

    There seems to be a “chicken little” mentality that is causing the barn yard to panic. Politicans seem to think everything is an emergency and we must act immediately or some impending doom will happen. Then all the farm animals cryout and make bad descions.

    Let us all stop panicing when someone shouts the sky is falling. Then take a serious assesment of the facts and options before acting, before we really mess thing up.

    Sincerely,

    Timothy James Maki

  3. Jan
    28
    3:46
    PM
    Paul Jacob

    Thank you, Timothy. Yes, my point was to be outrageous as to the emergency, because making this an emergency bill is certainly outrageous, and absurd and dishonest. I know the Coast Guard would not be on land — though Maine has a long coastline. I know, too, that the military is not to police the US. But both the Marines and the Coast Guard might actually save a life, i.e. assist in a true emergency. One’s desire to stiff-arm the voters does not constitute such an emergency.

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