Missouri State Senator Jim Lembke is a hero . . . just for listening.
Senator Lembke helped protect his state’s initiative and referendum process by defeating legislation passed by the House with several restrictive provisions, some already ruled unconstitutional in other states. One provision aims to restrict citizens from petitioning for more than one initiative at a time, which would effectively block eminent domain reformers working on two separate measures.
That same unconstitutional legislation just passed the House again. And again, citizens need the help of Lembke and the Senate.
But the senator has also introduced Bill 818, which would do three simple things. First, it protects voters from having their petition signatures discounted for minor technical errors. Second, it makes it unlawful to purposely mislead signers or to harass or intimidate those signing or circulating a petition. Third, it provides judicial deadlines so that opponents could no longer challenge an initiative’s ballot title and hold it up in court so long that the time to gather signatures is exhausted.
On Monday, a Columbia, Missouri, radio station interviewed Sen. Lembke. The host asked him why he introduced his bill. He said people had talked to him about their experiences with the petition process, and he listened.
Sounds simple, really. More legislators should try it.
We at Citizens in Charge Foundation gave Lembke the April 2010 Lilburne Award. We hope it encourages Lembke and his colleagues to continue to fight for initiative rights.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.