Staff’s blog

An editorial in today’s Sacramento Bee indicates that it is California’s irresponsible lawmakers that are to blame for the state’s budget woes. Critics are often quick to blame Proposition 13, the historic property tax limitation, for budget problems. As Dan Walters points out, property tax revenues have risen 800 percent since the passage of Prop 13.

We hope you can join us for our next Citizens On Tap, an informal gathering of friends and colleagues seeking mutual understanding over a pint of beer (or wine…?) If you are in the D.C. metro / Northern Virginia area, please stop by and enjoy the fun, This Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at Hunan One in Arlington, VA. Meet us at the bar and check in. The first round is on us.


The first 50 people to attend will receive a free t-shirt from Citizens in Charge Foundation AND a free book from the Leadership Institute!

This weekened millions of Americans celebrated the 4th of July, America’s Indpendence Day. Paul Jacob took a look at the significance of the holiday in his weekly column called “Freedom Never Takes A Holiday”. Celebrating over 200 years of freedom in the U.S.A., he also looks at freedom around in the U.S. and world. He writes:

The Arizona Legislature worked throught the night last and adjourned at 7:30 this morning. Before they left, and in the middle of the night, they passed Senate Bill 1091 to close off the ballot initiative process and make it harder for citizens to have a say in their government.

(LAKE RIDGE, VA) - Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a transpartisan national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented Oregon State Senator Vicki Walker with the July 2009 John Lilburne Award. Senator Walker is being recognized as the only Senate Democrat to defend Oregon voters in an attempt to stop legislation that criminalizes activists expressing their freedom of speech via the ballot initiative process.

The state of Florida has decided not to appeal a case in which a state law aimed at restricting ballot initiatives was struck down.

According to Oregonians in Action, a group that supports the referendum process, the Oregon Legislature is attempting to ram a bill through at the last minute that would change the meanings of the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

93% said No

Wed, Jun 24 2009 by Staff

In a recent poll 93% of respondents agreed that the names of petition signers should not be placed in a searchable database on the Internet. In several states organizations are trying to put the names of all people who signed a petition into a searchable database.



Read more: Gay-rights group wants to “out” petition signers

As pundits continue to look at the value of the ballot initative process its refreshing to get a real prespective, that of the voter. Here is a comment from a reader of Paul Jacob’s Sunday column “Do California politicians have too little power?”

An Oregon editorial is calling for Governor Ted Kulongoski to veto a dangerous bill that recently passed the state legislature. House Bill 2005 imposes heavy fines that can be used to harass petition sponsors and will chill the petition process.

Last month California voters weighed in on - and largely rejected - a series of ballot measures that lawmakers claimed would fix the state’s budget. Among those rejected was Proposition 1B which would have funneled $7.1 billion to school funding. Even though the plan was rejected by 2/3 of voters, it looks like the state legislature wants to go ahead and do it anyway.

What is wrong with California politics? Is it the politicians, the voters, the balance of power?

Yesterday in Paul Jacob discussed the results of the California ballot measures and tries to answer the question, “Do California politicians have too little power?. What are your thoughts?

Here at Citizens in Charge Foundation when we talk about petitioning, we usually refer to the formal petitioning done in the 24 states that have ballot initiative and referendum rights. This type of petitioning is great, and people in those states are more empowered to control government than in other states. But petitioning is really about people coming together to express their concerns - and show their numbers - on specific issues.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled yesterday to strike down a law allowing voters to revoke their signatures after they sign a petition. The case against the law was filed by supporters of the Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment.

A U.S. District court judge has ruled that the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources can’t prevent citizens from circulating petitions in state parks. While West Virginian does not give its people access to the ballot initiative and referendum process, candidates for office have to collect signatures on nominating petitions.