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decentralize, centralize, federal and state and county, power, nullification, distributed

A Sanctuary from Centralization

Defiance . . . nullification. It is a trend. I take it as a sign of our contentious times that we now witness states in open rebellion against centralized control from the Imperial City of Washington, D.C., while cities and counties are also rattling the chains set by their respective

De-Escalate Washington, Tim Eyman, Initiative 940, initiative, democracy, shootings

Principle and Compromise

Last Friday, Tim Eyman — the Evergreen State’s best-known ballot initiative practitioner — won an important court case. But he also scuttled an amazingly impressive compromise between state legislators, police, and the proponents of Initiative 940. The measure was written and promoted by De-Escalate Washington, a group that includes several

term limits, elections, voting, limits, white lines, yellow lines, democracy

The Yellow and White Lines

If I’ve heard it one million times, I’ve heard it ten: “We already have term limits; they’re called elections.” A statement usually offered as the beginning and end of wisdom regarding the problems term limits are designed to tackle. Equally “profound” is the collateral claim that “the only term limits

Florida, Proposal 97, Constitution, democracy, voting, initiative, Constitution Revision Commission

New-Fangled Vote Counting

Call me old-fashioned, but when you go to the pols to cast your vote on a ballot measure, your Yes vote should count for yes and your No vote for no. And if you choose not to vote, your non-vote should count for neither yes nor no. That’s just common

Oklahoma, votes, democracy, initiative, marijuana, State Rep. John Enns, ballot

Fear of Voters

You are a state legislator, say. And an issue could be placed on the ballot on which a majority of your state’s citizens might not vote according to your preference. What would you do? Educate your fellow citizens on the merits of your position; or Dawdle while calling a lobbyist

instant-runoff elections, Memphis, city council, government, term limits,

Graceless Memphis Politicians

“We could care less about instant runoff voting,” fibbed Allan Wade, the city attorney for Memphis, Tennessee. Wade was rebutting the recent Commercial Appeal revelation that Memphis’s “City Council worked behind the scenes to find a sponsor for legislation this year that could ban instant-runoff elections statewide.” After long relying

The Human Freedom Index for 2017, CATO, Fraser Institute, and the Liberales Institut at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Switzerland, US, United States

Winning Too Much?

“We’re Number 17!!!” This lacks a certain triumphant note. It is nothing like the “We’re Number 1!” the Swiss are now hollering as they pump their arms into the air, waving giant #1 foam fingers against the backdrop of snow-covered Alps. Actually, knowing the Swiss, they are probably a bit

Tim Eyman, doll, petition, taxes, Washington, initiative, democracy, voters

What Unlimited Government Costs Us

“Olympia can’t restrain itself,” Tim Eyman wrote the other day, a judgment on legislative irresponsibility hardly unique to the Evergreen State. Citizens around the country have cause to lament the difficulty of obtaining anything close to a good legislature. Too often the merely “bad” would constitute a significant improvement. Which

Illinois, Supreme Court, term limits, initiative, democracy, gerrymandering

Illinois’s Chicken-and-Fish Supreme Court

A constitution is the law of the land only to the extent that it’s enforced. And in Illinois, the right of citizen initiative — provided for in the state constitution — is not enforced. The constitution’s wording is explicit: “Amendments . . . may be proposed by a petition signed

term limits, Congress, 74%, polls, Rasmussen Poll

Agreeable America

Americans actually agree on a lot of things; it’s a pity that today’s media and political debates play up the discord. Or so argues A. Barton Hinkle at The Richmond Times-Dispatch. Sure, he admits, “[a] lot of people seem willing to tear your head off over the smallest thing.” But

Truth in Accounting, TIA, Financial State of the States, Sheila Weinberg, initiative, democracy

Initiative Surplus?

Only nine out of 50 states can pay their bills and meet their obligations; 41 cannot, barring major tax increases or spending cuts. That’s what we learn in last month’s “Financial State of the States” report from Truth in Accounting (TIA). Alaska is in the best shape, “with $11 billion

Spain, Catalan, self determination,, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Mises

Self-Determination, Anyone?

An election can be a clarifying event. So can the suppression of an election. Over the weekend, more than two million Catalans, greater than 40 percent of those eligible, voted in a referendum on independence from Spain. To which Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared, “There was no independence referendum in

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