The state Supreme Court on Thursday made it easier for state lawmakers to increase taxes.
The court, in a 6-3 ruling, decided a state law requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to increase taxes is unconstitutional.
“Our holding today is not a judgment on the wisdom of requiring a supermajority for the passage of tax legislation,” the court said in its majority opinion.
The sheriff’s supporters have taken up themes normally associated with Arpaio’s critics, calling on financial transparency by the recall sponsoring group Respect Arizona and decrying outside influences, The (Phoenix) Arizona Republic reported Wednesday.
A recall election is still in doubt. Recall supporters have 90 days, until the May 30 deadline, to amass 335,000 valid signatures and force an election, the newspaper said.
A Senate committee has killed a Republican-sponsored bill to shield
from public scrutiny the names and personal information of people who sign petitions to bring General Assembly-passed bills to referendum.
The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee
voted 8-3 along party lines Tuesday night to kill the bill sponsored by Sen. Nancy Jacobs of Harford County. Proponents of the bill said petitions should be exempt from public records laws to protect the privacy of voters.
Read more at the Baltimore Sun
Stonewall Jackson Bird had never supported a Tim Eyman initiative. But earlier this month the Bellingham progressive rode to Olympia to speak on behalf of Eyman’s newest effort, Initiative 517, the “initiative on initiatives.”
“Stoney” Bird had been a corporate attorney in London. He became disenchanted, moved to the Skagit Valley, and later to Bellingham. He says that for a long time he “wanted to find a way to use my corporate legal experience for something important.”
Last year he found his cause: stopping coal trains.
Read more at the Seattle Times
On February 25, the North Dakota Senate passed SB 2183 by a vote of 31-16. This is the bill that says no one may circulate an initiative petition, or a recall petition, unless the individual has lived in the state for at least two years.
Republican Senators supported the bill by a margin of 29-4, but Democratic Senators opposed it by a margin of 2-12.
Read more at Ballot Access News
For years, the courts have said, based on the law as it exists today, that there are certain issues the people can decide by local initiative and certain issues they cannot (red-light cameras not OK, banning local casinos OK, banning coal trains not OK, etc).
But up to this point, advisory votes on issues have occurred and been permitted because they simply let the people express a non-binding opinion that the local government can ignore or accept. Since advisory votes don’t interfere with local governments’ legislative power, they’ve been OK … until yesterday.
Michigan’s Constitution allows citizens to initiate legislation and also repeal existing Public Acts by gathering a required amount of signatures within a prescribed time frame and putting the proposed legislation (or rejection of current legislation) on a statewide ballot for a vote of the people.
Citizens are also allowed to amend the Michigan Constitution in a similar manner. The required signatures for each effort are based on a percentage of the total votes cast for governor in the preceding election. In 2012 there were six ballot proposals put before voters through this process.
Read more at the Voice of Small Business Blog
The ongoing litigation and petitions about the demolition of City Hall and construction of the ballpark raise important questions about initiative and referendum petitions. Regardless of their viewpoints on the merits of the issues, El Pasoans should understand the initiative and referendum process.
Initiative and referendum petitions are methods to allow direct citizen participation in the legislative process at state or local levels. Despite the fundamental nature of the right to vote, the right to an initiative or referendum is not a federally guaranteed right, nor is it guaranteed under the Texas Constitution.
The powers of initiative and referendum are considered powers reserved to the people by charter.
The old argument about whether the chicken or the egg came first has a political counterpart in California:
Did the Legislature lose relevance as a policymaking institution because of the explosion of ballot measures, or did the latter occur because the Legislature had become dysfunctional?
Read More at the Sacramento Bee
The Michigan state legislature and governor have given their stamp of approval to a controversial right-to-work plan.
Now a group in Ohio is circulating petitions to get the right-to-work initiative on the ballot here.
Under heavy protest, Michigan lawmakers passed the legislation on Tuesday making it a right-to-work state. Governor Rick Snyder signed the measure making the state, often referred to as a labor stronghold, the 24th right-to-work state in the country.
Read More At WFML