Two Days Left for California Governor Brown to Veto ‘Yellow Star’ Bill
Supporters of initiative rights in California and beyond maintain hope that Gov. Jerry Brown will veto backwards legislation that would force any Californian petitioning her or his government to wear a large badge on their chest, a requirement dubbed a “Yellow Star Law.”
As we’ve reported, the badges required by SB 448 would display information about whether a petition circulator is paid or not: anti-initiative legislators hope that voters will be unlikely to sign petitions when they know the person collecting them is being paid to do so. Less measures on the ballot means less choice for voters, and in turn more power for legislators and the special interests that influence them.
Earlier this summer Gov. Brown vetoed another bill, SB 168, that aimed at reducing citizen access to the ballot. He said that it unfairly burdened citizen groups and favored special interests. An investigation by Citizens in Charge Foundation found that the Secretary of State’s office grossly overstated the amount of petition fraud in the state in recent decades in order to build up support for the bill. Secretary Debra Bowen sent personal letters to several key legislators supporting SB 168.
Voting on both bills has been heavily partisan, but opposition has come from all over the political spectrum, with groups such as Citizens in Charge, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association speaking out against them. Support for SB 168 and SB 448 has come from a coalition of public employee unions, the Secretary of State, and the far-left Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.
The Governor has until midnight Thursday to veto the bill and save California the embarrassment of forcing citizens to wear badges to participate in politics. No society in history has prospered by forcing citizens to wear a badge. If you live in California, call the Governor’s office at (916) 445-2841 and respectfully ask him to VETO SB 448.