People who fraudulently sign petitions for ballot initiatives could face stiffer penalties under legislation given initial approval by the Missouri Senate.
A bill endorsed Wednesday by senators would make the crime of petition signature fraud a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of between $1,000 and $25,000.
Violators currently can face a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The legislation also expands the crime to cover petition circulators who use trickery to obtain signatures or who knowingly submit forms with false signatures.
Read more at BND.com Here
An Ozaukee County judge lost his job Tuesday when voters sided with a challenger critical of the incumbent’s 2011 signature on a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
Attorney Joe Voiland defeated Circuit Judge Tom Wolfgram, a three-term incumbent, by collecting more than 60% of the vote, according to complete, unofficial returns. He was elected to a six-year term.
Voiland criticized Wolfgram for forfeiting his impartiality by publicly supporting the recall.
Read more at The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
I mentioned yesterday that a lawsuit was already cooking should the legislature pass a proposal being pushed by the two Arkansas casinos at West Memphis and Hot Springs to make it difficult to put initiated acts and amendments on the ballot.
Here’s one reason why a lawsuit is likely. The pending Arkansas proposal would prohibit paying canvassers for signatures based on the number of signatures they gather. (This serves as a disincentive, because piece work, particularly in places where mass signatures can be gathered, is far more profitable.)
Read more at Arkansas Times
Legislation signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich on March 22 has infuriated Democrats and advocacy groups who say it will make it harder for voters to repeal laws and introduce their own.
Senate Bill 47, sponsored by Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati, sets strict rules on the time organizers have to collect signatures when mounting a petition drive to strike down laws. The bill, which passed swiftly through the legislature, will essentially cut at least two weeks from the existing timetable.
Read More at the Plain Dealer
Former state senator Gary Schroeder of Moscow may have been the first to share with me the old saying about laws and sausages.
I can’t quote it exactly, but it’s something about “two things you never want to watch being made are laws and sausages” - the point being that the process of crafting bills can sometimes be messy and unappetizing.
I’ve heard other legislators make similar remarks over the years, but I’m not sure it captures the true flavor of this place. Rather than a sausage factory, the Statehouse is more like a dealer’s showroom: It’s less a place where things are made than a place where things are sold.
Read more at the Idaho Statesman
The chairman of the election law subcommittee handling controversial changes to the referendum and petition process said Tuesday that the bill isn’t dead, despite the fact that it awaits action by the subcommittee and would need numerous amendments to make it palatable to stakeholders.
But with just 13 days left in the 90-day session, Election Law Subcommittee Chairman Jon Cardin, D-Baltimore County, conceded, “The chances of it moving have decreased.”
“No action has been taken,” Cardin said in a phone interview. “We’ve been trying to work with all of the different stakeholders to come up with something that we could all work with.”
North Dakota is no California, and Sen. David Hogue wants to keep it that way.
Hogue, R-Minot, told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that initiated measures drove California’s debt to more than $335 billion.
After proposals in recent years for initiated measures that could have cost North Dakota millions of dollars, Hogue decided to try make sure the state doesn’t go the way of California.
His effort became Senate Concurrent Resolution 4006, a proposed constitutional amendment that would give the Legislature the last word on initiated measures that cost more than $50 million.
Thirteen months after Wichitans voted on an incomprehensibly worded hotel-tax referendum, a proposal to provide voters with plain-language explanations of confusing ballot questions is on the verge of becoming a state law.
The state Senate on Monday gave its initial approval to House Bill 2162, which would allow county election officials to request that a county or state official write an “explainer” when the language used in a ballot measure is confusing or too legalistic for voters to easily understand.
“If they (election officials) feel like an explainer needs to be done, they can request it; if they don’t, they don’t need to,” said Sen. Kay Wolf, R-Prairie Village, who carried the bill on the floor.
Gov. John Kasich signed legislation Friday that would make it harder for Ohio voters to repeal laws. Now the clock is ticking for opponents who could void the controversial bill.
A provision in Senate Bill 47 would set new limits on the number of days organizers have to mount petition drives and collect enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot. Kasich’s autograph on SB 47 began a 90-day countdown for groups to stage a petition drive to shut down the legislation.
Read more from The Plain Dealer
The Senate has voted 33-1 in favor of SB 1191, a “trailer” bill to SB 1108, the bill that makes it tougher to qualify initiatives or referendum measures for the Idaho ballot. Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, said the idea behind the trailer bill is to ease the signature-gathering process in counties like his and Ada County, where there are multiple legislative districts. SB 1108 requires signatures from 6 percent of registered voters in 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts for a measure to qualify for the ballot, and it requires signature-gatherers to have a separate petition for each district, and signers to face penalties if they signed the petition for the wrong legislative district.