California’s Democratic legislative majority is anything but lazy. On July 3, when most politicians had long-since left their posts to begin vacationing, California legislators kept their collective nose to the grindstone, busy trying to grind down the right of citizens to petition their government.
Last year, California’s initiative process withstood multiple attacks. One would have required petitioners to wear signs on their chest stating whether or not they were paid. Another would have outlawed paying petitioners per signature.
Nary a Republican voted for these bills; thankfully, Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, vetoed both. He suggested government shouldn’t force citizens to wear signs on their chests and noted, “It doesn’t seem very practical to me to create a system that makes productivity goals a crime.”
Undeterred, the Assembly Elections Committee passed ACA 10, which would require constitutional amendment initiatives to qualify by running petition drives in 27 state senate districts. This, on top of the current requirement to gather more than a million voter signatures statewide,
Well-heeled interests would be able to afford the higher costs. Grassroots groups? Not so much.
Further, ACA 10 mandates that constitutional amendments proposed by citizens through the initiative must garner a supermajority of 55 percent to pass. This would allow big spending-unions or wealthy individuals or big corporations to defeat reform measures even when a majority of voters favor the measure.
Legislators claim the constitution should not be changed by a slim majority. Yet, ACA 10 doesn’t increase the simple majority currently required when it comes to amendments that legislators propose.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.