Newswire

A controversial campaign to reform California’s public pensions faces an uncertain future after the state attorney general chose what the measure’s backers consider to be unfriendly language for their proposed ballot initiative.

Chuck Reed, the mayor of San Jose and the driving force behind the proposal, told Reuters on Tuesday he will confer with supporters on whether to press ahead with trying to get the overhaul before voters later this year, and he might sue over Attorney General Kamala Harris’ wording for the ballot. A decision should be made by the end of January, Reed said.

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A California judge has ruled in favor of validating thousands of signatures on a pro-family petition challenging that state’s new transgender law.

The controversial law gives transgender students special rights, letting them use bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite gender.

California’s secretary of state had tried to block the signatures from being counted in a referendum because they were not accepted by the court on time.

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More than 35,000 people willingly signed on to an effort by STOP to put city plans for a new Kings arena to a public vote but now, almost a month since those names were turned in to the city clerk, pro-arena groups are taking issue with what version of the petition voters signed.

“Voters are not getting the same pieces of information,” Chris Lehane, consultant with The4000, said Monday. ”Some dates are all over the place. Others don’t include consistent language in the notice of intent.  That’s the reason why they’re pursuing this.”

With a letter hand-delivered to the county registrar late Friday, The4000 is claiming that there are at least five versions of the petition circulated by STOP.

The path to a new downtown arena isn’t set in stone yet, with one of the biggest obstacles remaining being a campaign to put the arena on the ballot.  That campaign is being pushed by Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, otherwise known as STOP.

STOP submitted about 35,000 signatures to the county a couple weeks ago for validation and they need about 22,000 to get the measure approved.

However, new reports have surfaced today that indicate those signatures may be invalid.

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Organizers of a Florida campaign for medical use of marijuana say they expect to submit enough voter signatures this week to get the issue on ballots in time for the November election.

State law provides that campaign organizers have to get 683,149 voter signatures validated by the counties before Feb. 1. and almost one in three backers are rejected due to failing to meet requirements. Still, Polls show the petition has a good chance of success

A wealthy Orlando trial lawyer, John Morgan, has committed $3 million to the campaign.

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A November ballot crowded with hot-button issues for both liberals and conservatives is likely to dominate Oregon’s statewide political landscape in 2014.

Oregon voters could get to weigh in on marijuana legalization, privatizating the state’s liquor business, gay marriage, so-called “right-to-work” legislation for public employees, tax increases on big business and high earners, and renewable-energy requirements for utilities.

The Legislature-approved driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants already has been referred to voters. The groups proposing other measures will need to submit enough valid signatures by July to qualify for the November ballot.

Californians could be faced in November with a proposal to dramatically alter the pension and benefit system for public employees. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has submitted a statewide ballot initiative that would allow government agencies to negotiate changes to current employees’ future retirement benefits, reversing the long-standing principle that once a public employee is hired, his or her retirement benefits cannot be reduced.

There is little doubt about the historical veracity of one statement in the text of a vetoed California law that would have required at least some signatures for ballot initiatives to be gathered by volunteers instead of paid workers:

“The voters amended the California Constitution to reserve for themselves the power of the initiative because financially powerful interests, including railroad companies, exercised a corrupting influence over state politics.”

An attorney who specializes in election law said timing, not signature validity, may prove to be the toughest obstacle to a ballot measure seeking to require public approval of any subsidies for a new downtown Sacramento arena.

Tom Hiltachk, of Bell McAndrews & Hiltachk LLP in Sacramento, said the wild card is if approvals for the arena go through in the spring, as both city and Sacramento Kings officials have said was the plan.

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Sheer math suggests the number of signatures submitted for a 2014 ballot measure on the Sacramento Kings arena may have a narrow margin to succeed.

According to the city clerk’s office Friday, there were more than 34,000 signatures in support of the measure submitted to the Sacramento County registrar’s office, along with more than 15,000 signature withdrawal forms. Typically, not all signatures submitted hold up as valid; some people who signed either won’t be registered voters, or won’t be registered in the city of Sacramento. Some duplicates or signatures that can’t be verified because of illegibility are also possible.