Stonewall Jackson Bird had never supported a Tim Eyman initiative. But earlier this month the Bellingham progressive rode to Olympia to speak on behalf of Eyman’s newest effort, Initiative 517, the “initiative on initiatives.”

“Stoney” Bird had been a corporate attorney in London. He became disenchanted, moved to the Skagit Valley, and later to Bellingham. He says that for a long time he “wanted to find a way to use my corporate legal experience for something important.”

Last year he found his cause: stopping coal trains.

Read more at the Seattle Times

While the state ranked high on our grading scale, Missouri’s strange signature distribution requirement results in only two-thirds of a the state having a petition process, but an amendment pending in the Senate may change that.

Last week, Face The State reported on the efforts of Englewood residents to place a “homeowner immunity” measure on this November’s ballot. State law and Englewood’s city charter guarantee residents the right to place issues on the ballot upon collecting voter signatures equal to at least 5 percent of the city’s last gubernatorial vote count. While activists are hitting the pavement collecting the nearly 1,000 signatures they’ll need for ballot access, Englewood’s city council is tweaking local law to clarify the initiative and referendum process.

Reason Magazine’s May issue highlights Citizens in Charge Foundation’s President Paul Jacob. In an article entitled “List: Citizen Empowerment” it asks what are the “three barriers to citizen participation in politics.”

Jacob provides three basic challenges activists have encountered and how to overcome them.

He describes the first barrier as:

List: Citizen Empowerment

Thu, Apr 30 2009 — Source: Reason Magazine

Paul Jacob, president of the Citizens in Charge Foundation, did jail time in the 1980s for refusing to register for the draft. Since then he’s been working to curb politicians’ power via term limits. Last year he was indicted for allegedly violating Oklahoma rules barring nonresidents from circulating ballot petitions. A federal appeals court struck down those rules in December. In February reason asked Jacob to list three barriers to citizen participation in politics.

1.) Initiatives, referenda, and recalls ar…