Advocates of raising Michigan’s minimum wage pushed back Tuesday on a competing Republican bill to raise the wage, calling the measure “trickery” and saying it would silence voters.

Representatives of the Raise Michigan coalition said a bill introduced last week by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, would undermine their push to have voters decide whether to raise the minimum wage from $7.40 to $10.10 by 2017 through a ballot initiative. The campaign has collected more than the 258,000 signatures needed for a measure to appear on the November ballot to amend current law, spokeswoman Danielle Atkinson said.


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I have a riddle for you. When gathering signatures to put an initiative on the ballot, which would require more signatures? 1. A petition that covers Benton County. 2. A petition that covers the City of Corvallis?

Here are some not so helpful clues:

•  The City of Corvallis sits within Benton County.

•  More people live in Benton County than the city of Corvallis.

•  The petition for Benton County affects more voters.

• The City of Corvallis occupies less land than Benton County.

Recently, Benton County Clerk, James Morales said that a group needs 2,171 signatures to place their measure on the Benton County November ballot.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a citizens initiative designed to protect Portland’s parks will be allowed to appear on the June ballot.
In the ongoing dispute between the city and the Friends of Congress Square Park and its Protect Portland Parks subcommittee over the validity of the petition, the state’s highest court decided the citizens initiative is within its rights despite the city’s argument that it dealt with administrative and not legislative matters. The case will now be remanded to the Superior Court and a judge will decide on whether the city will be liable for any of the Friends’ attorney fees.

In the quest for early voting in Missouri, Matthew Patterson says Sunday was satisfying.

About a half-hour before the 5 p.m. deadline, supporters of a ballot initiative petition to establish early voting in Missouri submitted what they said were more than 300,000 signatures contained in dozens of boxes.

In order to go on the ballot, the initiative petition needs approximately 160,000 voter signatures.

Patterson, the Springfield-based director of Missouri ProVote, said more than 36,000 signatures were collected in the Greene County area as part of a statewide effort. Locally, the collection effort began in mid-February and lasted until this past Friday, he said.

Coloradans’ constitutional right to initiative and referendum have greatly improved this state’s political process. That right is under attack, again, in the Colorado Legislature and must be defended.

These critical tools have enabled we, the people, to debate and adopt policy — even controversial policy — that has allowed us to check the excesses of public officials and provide governmental balance. Though democratic processes are never flawless, after 100 years of experience, from reforming campaign finance rules to imposing term limits, there are good reasons the public favors initiative and referendum by a three-to-one margin.

State lawmakers will try once again to place a measure onto the ballot to change the way ballot measures get onto the ballot.

Rep. Lois Court said she’s hopeful this time Colorado voters will agree that something needs to be done to protect the state’s Constitution from contradictory proposals that oftentimes aren’t written well, or have far-reaching unintended consequences.

The Denver Democrat, who is one of a long line of lawmakers regardless of political ilk to attempt such changes, hopes this effort will be more successful than previous attempts.

Unlike those efforts, including Referendum O in 2008 that lost by less than 3 percentage points, Court’s new idea would make only a few changes, and focuses only on proposed constitutional amendments.

Shoppers at Clovis’ Walmart Supercenter on Herndon Avenue last week had an almost endless array of choices, from groceries to household items to toiletries to clothing. And grassroots democracy could have been on their shopping list if they were interested.

That opportunity awaited at the table set up by Rick and Donna Baker outside the store’s entrance. Shoppers could sign petitions on whether to split California into six states; give law-abiding citizens the right to own, carry, and fire a gun; or reduce some drug and theft felonies to misdemeanors. They could even sign a petition preventing legislators from diverting children’s health care money to the general fund.

Backers of the initiative petitions filed in recent weeks with the city need around 6,000 valid signatures to call a vote.

That number is going up after last week’s mayoral election.

The signature requirement is based on turnout in the most recent city-wide election.

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Initiatives are a way for the general public to get involved if the state Legislature won’t pass proposals that might be popular with everyday Montanans.

The right to submit an initiative is firmly granted in the state’s 1972 Constitution, and we acknowledge that voters no doubt will have a chance to cast ballots on some of these issues on the Nov. 4 general election ballot this year.

Granted, a few of the proposals on this year’s list of potential initiatives are either inane — such as a proposal to require half of the members of the Legislature to be women and half men — or the language has already been discarded in favor of a different initiative.

A bill being considered in Pierre changes the way initiated measures and referendum petitions in South Dakota are verified.

Some critics say the change makes it easier for big moneyed interests to challenge a petition effort.

Under current law–someone who wants to bring an issue before voters in a statewide election must gather the necessary signatures and then have the petitions checked and verified by the Secretary of States office.  Anyone wishing to challenge the petitions has 5 days to do so.

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