Wish there were an issue that would engender bipartisan co-operation from our legislators? An idea that could bring together special interests of all stripes — from the teachers’ unions to the Chamber of Commerce?
There is: Taking away your initiative rights.
Last week, I was at the Missouri capitol testifying against several bills that would create restrictions for initiative petitions, many identical to those struck down all across the country as unconstitutional violations of the First Amendment.
Show-Me state legislators also came up with something new: A bill to actually prohibit citizens from gathering signatures on more than one petition at a time.
Very convenient. It just so happens that a campaign to stop the state’s rampant eminent domain abuse requires two constitutional changes, thus two petitions.
As a representative for the state’s League of Women Voters put it, they just want to place a few more hurdles in the way of the people. She was joined by many other big capitol lobbies, united by their desire to block the citizens from playing any role in policy.
Fortunately, a number of regular folks, representatives from several grassroots groups, as well as the state’s ACLU attended, urging their representatives to do the unusual — actually represent the people.
Special interests hate the voter initiative process. They know what we know: If there is to be reform, it has to come from the people directly.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.