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.

Colorado campaigners have secured enough signatures to get two initiatives that would place restrictions on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state on the November ballot.

The measures need 86,105 signatures by Aug. 4, and Coloradans for Safe and Clean Energy said it has well surpassed that mark. The effort, bankrolled in part by Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., has roiled Colorado politics, where sitting Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall are both trying to win re-election.

State Sen. Jeff Clemens filed Florida’s first medical marijuana bill while he was in the Florida House in 2011.

“It went nowhere,” said Clemens, a Lake Worth Democrat. “It never received a hearing — and I received a lot of snickers and laughs.”

For the next two years, Clemens filed bills, including a comprehensive package in 2013 that also had a House sponsor. Clemens said the best he got was a discussion from Senate committee chairmen about holding a workshop on the bill.

Read more: here

he Nevada Supreme Court on Monday ruled that six citizens who filed three ballot initiative petitions in 2010 cannot be sued by Boulder City, which challenged the validity of the issues.

The court ruled that the citizens are protected by law and sent the case back to District Court to determine how much Boulder City must pay for legal costs incurred by the petitioners.

They had gathered signatures to place on the 2010 ballot initiative petitions to require the City Council to get voter approval before going into debt of $1 million or more; limit the terms of members of city commissions and committees to 12 years; and limit the city to one municipal golf course.


Recall is a procedural democratic device that allows voters to discharge and replace an elected official. At least 19 states provide for recall at the state level, and most states permit recall of local officials.

Coloradans, by citizen initiative, amended their constitution in 1912 to permit it here (approved handily by a vote of 53,620 to 39,564), and scores of recall elections at the local level have been held in Colorado in the past 100 years.

Spokane County commissioners voted Friday to challenge a pair of Spokane city initiatives that could change the way business and government function locally.

They join a coalition of economic development interests in seeking judicial review on the legality of the two initiatives called a Community Bill of Rights and a Voter Bill of Rights.

Commissioners said they believe the two measures could significantly hamper economic development by putting more decision-making into the hands of individual citizens.

Envision Spokane and Spokane Moves to Amend the Constitution obtained sufficient voter signatures to force their bills of rights onto the city’s November ballot.

Despite pleas to slow down and reconsider portions of a bill that would limit how long signatures can be collected for ballot initiatives, the House will vote this week on the measure that already has Senate approval.

Senate Bill 47 was voted out of the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee yesterday afternoon on a 9-5 vote after former Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner advised the committee members, “If you pass this lickety-split, it’s going to make you look bad.”

No one testified at yesterday’s hearing in favor of the petition part of the bill, though a representative from the Ohio Association of Election Officials spoke in support of other parts of the bill.

The Second House Amendment Committee, a new group formed by initiative rights activists in Nebraska, filed an initiative constitutional amendment this week to lower the signature requirements for qualifying citizen initiatives. The group also filed a campaign finance registration, which is required once at least $5,000 has been raised by a ballot committee.

“I am confident that with the dedication of our volunteers and the commitment I have secured from people who are friends to petition rights, this issue will be on the November ballot,” committee member Kent Bernbeck told reporters.

A ballot initiative moving toward approval in North Dakota could open the doors to chain pharmacy in the state. The initiative follows a resounding defeat of similar legislation in the state House of Representatives earlier this year. Current laws require that pharmacies be owned at least 51% by pharmacists. That has largely kept corporate owners, including national chains and hospitals, out of the community pharmacy market.

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.