Staff’s blog

If you weren’t able to make it to the 2010 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy and U.S. Conference on I&R last summer in San Francisco but still want to hear all the great speakers and debate, now is your chance.

The 8 part DVD series is available for purchase here.

conf dvd

Thanks to the great work of initiative activist Tim Eyman, State Senators Don Benton and Pam Roach, the collective editorial power of Evergreen State newspapers and an outpouring of citizens contacting their legislators, Senate Bill 5297 was defeated yesterday in the Washington state legislature as it missed the mandatory deadline for a senate vote.

Last year Brandon Holmes and I traveled to Big Spring, TX to talk with a group of citizens whose petitions rights were violated by the city council. Now that same group is working to get a term limits measure on the city ballot after the city council rejected the issue in January:

As we noted last week, recall efforts are ramping up in Wisconsin against both Republican and Democrat state legislators. Not one to miss out on a good political fight, Sarah Palin weighed in on the recall efforts:

On Saturday’s “Justice with Jeanine” on the Fox News Channel, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin weighed in on the turmoil in Wisconsin. Her solution: fire the senators standing in the way of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal.

The message to Washington state legislators couldn’t be clearer: hands off citizen initiative rights.

Seattle Times, May 3, 2011, “Initiative-Curbing Bill Unfair And Ineffective” –

Total Recall: Wisconsin

Thu, Mar 3 2011 by Staff

It looks like both sides in the union versus budget debate in Wisconsin are preparing to fire their recall artillery at each other as both Republican and Democrat state senators could face campaigns to remove them from office:

Republican Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, is among nine senators being targeted by recall attempts.

The recall paperwork was filed in recent days. A state Senate impasse persists over Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.

Scott GesslerColorado’s petition system is in a shambles, and the state legislature remains fixated on nailing down the lid on the coffin. Luckily, newly elected Secretary of State Scott Gessler seems to want a more reasonable petition system to preside over.

From the San Francisco Chronicle today:

Snowed InColorado state house Republicans and Democrats teamed up with big labor, big business, and other special interests against Colorado citizens to pass SCR-1 by a vote of 55-12 early this morning. The constitutional amendment, if approved by voters, would turn the current deep freeze that has overtaken the state’s petition process into an ice age.

With a constitutional amendment that would make it far more difficult to enact future constitutional amendments – especially through Colorado’s citizen initiative process – already passed by the State Senate and now pending on the floor of the House of Representatives, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group (and a partner organization to Citizens in Charge), today issued a report entitled, “Five Facts about Amending Colorado’s Constitution.”

City officials and activists can’t seem to agree on the rules governing a move to recall the elected officials who voted for a $2.50-a-week user fee in Parkersburg. The city claims the deadline to submit petitons passed last week while supporters of the recall effort don’t believe the law contains a deadline:

City Attorney Joe Santer insisted Parkersburg’s charter stipulates that groups seeking to exercise the recall option have 30 days after declaring their intent to do so to gather the necessary signatures. He said the 30-day recall window expired Feb. 14.

National group U.S. Term Limits has joined the broad coalition of voices denouncing the Colorado General Assembly’s special interest-fueled attack on citizen initiative rights. From a statement released yesterday:

On February 19, Judge David R. Thompson died at the age of 80. He was a semi-retired judge on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He was based in San Diego. He had been appointed to the 9th circuit in 1985. In 2000 he wrote the decision that invalidated a Washington state law that required the names and addresses of paid circulators to be made public, by their employers, on a monthly basis. That case was called WIN v Rippie. His decision said,

Rosebud Sioux Tribe members are currently circulating a recall petition against tribal President Rodney Bordeaux, citing mismanagement of tribal affairs. While Bordeaux defends himself, the Rapid City Journal reports that tribal officials are hampering signature collection efforts:

The Seattle Times speaks bluntly about a pair of bills aimed at restricting Washington citizens’ initiative rights.

Their bills…are a collection of things to make ballot initiatives more difficult. And that suggests the legislators’ intent is to restrict direct democracy….

They are punitive and should be rejected.