Neal’s blog

In Colorado, a group of self-described civic and business “leaders” are launching an effort to create an unelected state commission, which would be armed with the power to review Colorado’s constitution and place sweeping new constitutional amendments on the ballot – including measures that could propose wholesale revisions of the current state constitution.


Micah Hurd, a 23-year-old college student living in Arlington, Texas, recently found himself the center of controversy.  After President Obama’s reelection in November, Hurd started a petition on the White House’s official petition website, “We the People,” proposing that the Lone Star State of Texas secede from the United States.  This normally would not cause a fuss, as many individuals in many states did the same after the President’s reelection.

Michigan’s Legislature enacted “Right-to-Work” legislation this week, sparking renewed debate about public policy regarding unions. Here’s a quick review of recent ballot measures having to do with organized labor.


Ohio “State Senate Bill 5” Veto Referendum, Issue 2 (2011)

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission meets today to consider new rules regarding disclosure of ballot measure financing, especially funding for petition drives to place initiatives and referendums on the ballot.

From the LA Times Here


Students at Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Ohio seek to change the dress code for the school district which forbids “hoodie” sweatshirts. Lakewood student Andrew Nolan began the petition on November 28 citing concerns for the health of students that are required to go outdoors to change classes during the course of a day.

The ban on the garments came about due to security concerns after a student had tried to hide his identity inside the hooded shirt and has been in place now for several years.

Students set a goal of 2,000 signatures and the petition is nearly a quarter of the way there.

View the story from the Cleveland Sun Post-Herald

The controversial Right-to-Work bills that today passed the Michigan Legislature cannot be put to a voter referendum or “people’s veto,” because legislators added a $1 million appropriation to the bills. Under Michigan law, appropriation bills are not subject to the citizens’ referendum powers. The appropriation goes to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for implementing the legislation and dissemination of information regarding the bills.

Last week, a Michigan House panel passed a package of five bills to restrict future recalls of elected officials by citizens. One bill would allow recalls only in either May or November (HB 6061) and another (HB 6063) prevents recalls from being initiated in the six months after the beginning of or prior to the end of an elected official's term. That latter bill “makes it nearly impossible to recall for a two-year term,” observed Rep. Barb Byrum.