Running the Asylum
After an election in Idaho wherein legislators saw three of their laws rejected by citizen-initiated referendums, Senate Bill 1108 passed the senate and headed its way to the House. It would impose draconian new requirements to qualify a referendum or citizen initiative.
“There’s a perception that this relates to Props 1, 2 and 3,” explained the bill’s author, Sen. Curtis McKenzie (R-Nampa). “This doesn’t have anything to do with that.”
Voters in Maryland approved the three legislative enactments petitioned to statewide referendum votes last November. But why risk a veto from the people, eh? Legislation has been introduced to dramatically increase signature requirements, restrict pay for petition circulators, and block websites from providing online help to those wishing to sign referendum petitions.
Sadly, the federal government’s executive branch seems no fonder of citizen input than do state legislators. The White House petition website recently hiked the signature requirement up four-fold to get an official response — from 25,000 people to 100,000 folks.
“Raising the threshold so steeply and so suddenly,” Rachael Larimore wrote in Slate, “sends the message that maybe the White House doesn’t really want to be bothered with the problems of the people.”
Obviously, the White Houses isn’t alone among political power centers in opposing citizen involvement. To keep track of assaults on the initiative, referendum and recall, please consult Citizens in Charge’s 2013 Legislative Tracker.
I’ll keep it updated; you keep your local “representatives” checked.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.