Archives for October 2011

It seems public employee pension reform is one of the hot topics so far this year. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker his budget repair bill with significant pension reforms. The changes split the state and the law was passed amid protests outside the state capitol. Following passage of the bill, citizens weighed in at the ballot box against a handful of politicians around the state in citizen-initiated recall elections.

In Ohio, Governor John Kasich’s pension reform bill that passed earlier this year will face public scrutiny in a statewide referendum vote next week. This is the same vote we mentioned last week on the blog, the one presidential candidate Mitt Romney endorsed, then didn’t endorse, and then endorsed again.

Earlier this week Mitt Romney visited Ohio and declined to support Governor Kasich’s union reform law, but it seems he’s clarified his position after an uproar on right:

On November 8, Ohioans will head to the polls to vote on Issue 2, a referendum to repeal Governor John Kasich’s union reform bill that limits collective bargaining power for state public employee unions.

Much like the law passed in Wisconsin by Governor Scott Walker, Ohio’s collective bargaining law was met with stiff protest from unions who collected enough signatures to force a referendum vote.

The 100th Anniversary Celebration of California’s Initiative & Referendum held in Sacramento on October 10 was a great success. Citizens in Charge Foundation, our partner organization, was joined by over 100 Californians to commemorate the centennial and transpartisan dialogue ensued throughout the day-long forum and early evening reception hosted by The Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco.

Good news! A potential 2012 ballot measure in Montana would protect voter-passed initiatives from unilateral repeal and amendment by the State Legislature. This protection is essential in keeping the citizen initiative process effective as a tool to keep elected officials in check:

George Will’s recent column, “A republic, guaranteed,” generally scoffs at a lawsuit filed in federal court in Colorado attempting to overturn the state’s voter-initiated Taxpayer Bill of Rights amendment, which caps state spending. But while disagreeing with the goal of the lawsuit, Mr. Will seems to in part agree with those who filed it. At least when they argue in their legal brief that there is a “contest between direct democracy and representative democracy.”