Fireworks Expected as Mainers Fight to Protect Petition Rights (updated)

Wed, Mar 10 2010 by Anonymous

Two controversial anti-initiative bills are about to be brought up once again in the Maine Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee. Both bills would chill petitioning in Maine, and lawmakers have been hearing from activists on the issue. Fireworks are expected, and you can listen in right now live via the Legislature’s website by clicking here.

Update

Unfortunately for listeners, the fireworks happened behind the scene. The committee meeting ended up moving to recommend LD 1690 as “Ought not to pass” and recommending LD 1730 as “Do Pass” with substantial amendments.

While the new version of LD 1730 (electronic version not yet available) does contain some positive provisions that clean up a discrepancy between the constitution and statutory law, the bill still requires “petition organizations” to register with the state. Given that petitioning is protected free speech, it seems completely absurd that petitioners would have to ask the state’s permission - through registration - to engage in free speech.

Activists will be very vocal in opposition to this bill.

Mary Adams is the Citizens in Charge Foundation Maine Citizen State Coordinator