I’m traveling across California this week to raise awareness about a diaper load of legislation designed to restrict, thwart, inhibit, hamper, obstruct, impede, block and tackle California’s robust system of initiative and referendum.
Politicians know they cannot abolish voter initiatives outright. They’d need voter approval. Instead, they seek to rig the rules so that people are nonetheless prevented from exercising their rights.
At CitizensinCharge.org we’ve detailed the various legislative proposals, with one bill really standing out amidst the general stench: Senate Bill 448. Authored by State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, the bill has already passed the Senate and is pending in the State Assembly.
SB 448 would force any citizen gathering petitions to put an issue onto the ballot to wear a badge — really a small sign, with lettering the size I’m wearing in this picture. If the citizen petitions as a volunteer, the sign must read “VOLUNTEER SIGNATURE GATHERER”; if one is paid, then “PAID SIGNATURE GATHERER.”
The sign must also contain the California county in which one is registered, or read: “NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE.”
DeSaulnier touts his legislation as simply providing “a little transparency.” But for those in power to force citizens to wear a message that politicians dictate suggests that they think of petitioning government as a permitted privilege rather than an inalienable right.
Though it’s easy to bring up ugly historical parallels, that doesn’t make Sen. DeSaulnier and those supporting this bill redcoats or Nazis.
But they are petty, mean and unconstitutional.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
Post-script: You can email Sen. DeSaulnier at: firstname.lastname@example.org