Archives for April 2011

While Colorado lawmakers wrangle over how weak the token protections for initiated state statutes in SCR11-01 should be, the legislature is moving forward on other inventive plans to keep citizens from having a say in state government. SB11-1072 aims to create even more opportunities for frivolous lawsuits against initiative activists, and was acted on by the Senate Judiciary Committee early this week.

The Economist got it all wrong about California’s initiative process:

To the Editor,

Once again, The Economist lays blame for California’s budget problems at the foot of the state’s ballot initiative process [“Burn the wagons,” April 20] without offering even a scintilla of evidence for such an assertion.

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.

(LAKE RIDGE, VA) – Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented Nebraska citizen activist Kent Bernbeck with the April 2011 John Lilburne Award for his continued work to make Nebraska’s initiative process more open and accessible to citizens.

“Kent is a citizen who decided he’d seen enough attacks on citizen initiative rights and got involved,” said Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob. “He is a strong believer in citizens having a stronger voice in government and has worked tirelessly for many years to defend that right.”


Tue, Apr 26 2011 by Staff

Previously on our newswire we’ve had a couple stories about the anti-circumcision campaign going on in San Francisco. They’ve been collecting signatures and are now claiming to have enough to put it on the ballot:

FLFlorida has one of the youngest petition processes in the nation: citizens gained the right to petition constitutional amendments onto the state ballot in 1967. Florida legislators, like those in most states, don’t like the people having a say at the ballot box, and have worked hard in recent years to make voters’ rights as hard to exercise as possible.

Omaha Press Conference Recap

Fri, Apr 22 2011 by Staff

Yesterday, Citizens in Charge President Paul Jacob held a press conference in Omaha, Nebraska to discuss recent proceedings in Citizens in Charge v. Gale, a case currently before U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bataillion:

A federal judge today heard opening arguments in a non-jury trial over Nebraska’s residency rule for petition circulators.

The American Civil Liberties Union argues the law makes it difficult if not impossible for independent candidates and large-scale grassroots initiatives to get on the ballot.

Under Nebraska law, petition circulators must live in the state whether they are volunteers or paid professionals.

Wisconsin Recall Update

Thu, Apr 21 2011 by Staff

The recall battle lives on in Wisconsin this week as state Democrats file a fourth recall effort against Republican state senators.

Not to be outdone, Republicans also filed another two recall petitions of their own today, against Democratic State Senator Jim Holperin, and Senator Robert Hansen.

The next few months are sure to be interesting in Wisconsin politics. If all of the various recall efforts on both sides come to fruition the political landscape in the state could be drastically different by this time next year.

Happy Birthday

Thu, Apr 21 2011 by Staff

Today is Citizens in Charge Executive Director Amanda Roman’s birthday, and we’d like to wish her a happy birthday on behalf of all the staff.

Have a great birthday Amanda!


(OMAHA, NE) – Tomorrow, Citizens in Charge, a national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, will hold a news conference to discuss the progress of Citizens in Charge v. Gale, a case that will be heard by Chief Judge Joseph F. Bataillon in U.S. District Court at 9:00 am the same day. The lawsuit seeks to reverse three restrictions placed on the citizen initiative process in the state.

On Saturday, Citizens in Charge President Paul Jacob’s op-ed on recall fever ran in the Washington Examiner:

A letter sent Wednesday to members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives by Citizens in Charge President Paul Jacob shows increasing criticism of a plan by some Oklahoma legislators to make state petition proponents gather signatures based on congressional districts instead of statewide.

CapitolBeatOK reports: