The first of almost a dozen ballot proposals to allow greater local control of oil and gas development cleared an important hurdle Friday, winning clearance from the Colorado Supreme Court.

Known as Initiative 75, for now, the proposed constitutional amendment would give local governments more control over businesses and corporations that impact the health and safety of a community. That would include oil and gas drilling and hydrolic fracturing operations, which are regulated at the state level with some input from local governments.

The Colorado Community Rights Network, which successfully backed voter-approved fracking regulations in Lafayette, is heading up the initiative.

Citizens in 26 states and thousands of cities have a greater voice than Alabamians because our legislative process permits trumping 9-5 working voices with well-funded special interest groups.  As a result, many citizens have apathetically surrendered their civic duty asking “Why vote, does it matter?”

It does matter.  Moreover, that solution is rests with our legislature.  The ability to create a “citizen friendly” state along with the “business friendly” state touted by Speaker Mike Hubbard is solely theirs.  Their unwillingness to provide citizens a vote on Initiative and Referendum (I&R), the capability for citizens to be more involved in state government, is self-preservation.

The group that wants to take the politically powerful process of drawing election maps away from Illinois lawmakers is facing more challenges after election authorities found that a majority of petition signatures needed to put the question to voters were invalid.

State Board of Elections executive director Rupert Borgsmiller said less than half of a 5 percent sample of signatures submitted by the “Yes for Independent Maps” campaign were valid — dealing a blow to an effort that already faces a court challenge in Chicago. But campaign officials say they’ve got enough valid signatures to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot in November and argue the state was “sloppy” in verifying signatures.

Some Maryland LGBT advocates have expressed concern over highlighting efforts to force a referendum on the state’s recently signed transgender rights law.

The Washington Blade obtained an e-mail that Brigida Krzysztofik of Gender Rights Maryland sent to Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, on May 14 after her organization sent a message to supporters asking them to report “petition-gatherers in your area.” NCTE asked its supporters to stop people from signing the petition and e-mail Keith Thirion of Equality Maryland to become more involved in the effort to defend the trans rights law.

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Some opponents of a Missouri income tax cut say they are weighing whether to pursue a referendum petition that would put the issue before voters.

The Republican-led Legislature enacted the tax cut earlier this month by overriding a veto of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. The measure would gradually reduce Missouri’s top individual income tax rate and phase in a new business income deduction starting in 2017, as long as state revenues keep growing.

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It was a sunny day to drive out the darkness in politics.

That was part of the reason Carrie Potts sat at a table outside the Kalama Post Office on Tuesday. She was searching for signatures to help eventually roll back what she sees as the negative effects of unlimited and anonymous spending in elections.

As the Cowlitz County team leader for WAmend, Potts is the point person for the petition drive for Initiative 1329 — which seeks a place on the November ballot so Washington voters can decide if they want to advise the state’s Congressional delegation to get working on a Constitutional amendment drawing a line between human and corporate speech.

We noted back in December the creation of a new issue committee seeking to ban conceal carry on Colorado college campuses.  But compared to how much attention the high profile fracking bans are receiving, this damaging ballot measure appears to be largely flying under the radar.

The Daily Camera reports that anti-gun organizers have “collected half the signatures needed for a November ballot measure asking voters to ban concealed weapons on public college and university campuses in Colorado.”  Petitioners must turn in 86,105 valid signatures by June 30 to qualify for the ballot.  To be safe, they should collect closer to 120,000 signatures to accommodate for those that are disqualified.

Greta Van Susteren went to Mexico to speak to the mother of jailed U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been held in prison since April 1 on firearms charges.

Tahmooressi says he took a wrong turn in San Diego, Calif., ending up at the border of Mexico. That’s when border guards searched his car and found three guns that were legally purchased in the United States.

His mother Jill Tahmooressi went “On The Record,” where she discussed seeing her son for the first time since April 14. He was recently relocated from La Mesa Penitentiary in Tijuana, where Jill said he feared for his life, to El Hongo II State Penitentiary.

Opponents of Michael Law, the Kuna School Board trustee who opposed a two year, $6.38 million levy in March, say they will file a petition for his recall on Tuesday, which is election Day.

If the signatures are verified, a recall election could be held on Aug. 26.

Terri Reno, a Kuna grandmother with two grandchildren in district schools and five more who will likely be attending, said she waited for election day because she did not want the recall to overshadow the district’s second attempt at passing the levy Tuesday.

She also said she wanted the petition submitted before the outcome of Tuesday’s vote is tabulated, so voters wouldn’t think the levy outcome made a difference in their decision to seek the recall.

California is a big state with a long history of citizen legislating through ballot initiatives. So it’s little wonder that all but one of the most expensive ballot initiatives in the last 14 years have taken place in the Golden State: There are big corporate interests on both sides, and they’re willing to spend money to tilt the playing field in their favor.

Check out the most expensive ballot initiatives since 2000, data courtesy the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center:

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