ballot initiative

Paul Jacob, President of Citizens In Charge Foundation, responds to a participants concerns on individual/constitutional rights with regards to the initiative and referendum process. http://www.youtube.com/CitizensInCharge

This video is getting multiple airs during prime time on St. Louis TV news.  KTVI-TV covers Fox 2 Newsthe efforts of a Missouri group to qualify a constitutional amendment for this fall’s ballot.

What if I told you that there is an effect underway by Democrats inside of the State Capitol to make it more difficult and expensive to qualify ballot measures?  Would you be shocked?  Would it really surprise you that a legislature that has its own ability to place measures on the ballot (like the taxes that were rejected by voters last May) doesn’t want the people to have that same power?

Today several state and national grassroot organizations are denouncing California Senate Bill 34 aimed at silencing voters by restricting the citizen initiative process. In an open letter to the California State Legislature, citizens are speaking out on the legislation that targets their First Amendment rights.

This weekend Paul Jacob spoke at the National Taxpayer Union’s National Taxpayers Conference about the power of the initiative and referendum (I&R) process.

Paul’s main comments focused on how regular grassroots activists can set the agenda and gain momentum on their issues by using I&R. He also makes the point that I&R has been a taxpayer’s best friend, as ballot measures have helped control government spending.

Watch a clip of Paul’s speech:

Voters in Nevada are under attack by their state legislature.

Recently the Nevada legislature voted to make the ballot initiative process much, much harder. New legislation would effectively shut out regular citizens out of the process.

In his daily commentary, Common Sense, Paul Jacob discusses the actions in Nevada in A Law to Be Named Later. He writes:

Sometimes we in Kansas like to poke fun at our neighbors to the south in Oklahoma. I’m sure they do the same to us.

But one way in which Oklahoma has Kansas beat is in Oklahoma citizens’ ability to petition their government through the process of initiative and referendum.

Since the mid-1990s, California, Michigan, Nebraska, and Washington have passed ballot initiatives to ban affirmative action programs at the state level. Although Colorado last year narrowly rejected a similar initiative, and although petition drives failed to attract enough signatures in three other states…

Read the story from the National Journal

The Yellow Margarine Ballot Measure

Fri, Jun 5 2009 by Anonymous

Throughout the month of June we will be looking at the history and impact of the ballot initiative, referendum and recall process.

These reforms, which started gaining popularity in the late 1800s, can be traced to the political philosophy of one of our founding father, Thomas Jefferson.

We wanted to start the series with a great piece by Paul Jacob, the President of the Citizens In Charge Foundation. For over 10 years Paul has hosted and authored Common Sense, a daily radio commentary.

On June 3, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Election Laws held a hearing on three bills to make it more difficult for initiatives to get on the ballot. As it usual in Massachusetts, the committee did not take any action on the hearing day itself.