ZocaloCalifornians’ initiative, referendum and recall process is as hot a topic for debate as ever. That’s apt, for this year marks the process’s 100th anniversary.

On October 10, 1911, Californians went to the polls to enact these democratic checks on government after Governor Hiram Johnson persuaded legislators to put them on the ballot. On October 10, 2011, I’ll be in Sacramento at an event sponsored by Citizens in Charge Foundation to celebrate the centennial.

As supporters of petition rights call on Gov. Jerry Brown to veto another attack on Californians’ initiative and referendum rights, anti-voter legislators hope that three is a charm.

Citizens in Charge President Paul Jacob tells the story in his weekly column at Townhall.com:

Pete Peterson of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy was spot on in his blasting of Democrat California Legislators’ systematic attempts to protect their majority control by smashing the state’s initiative, referendum and recall process.

With his veto of SB 448, California Governor Jerry Brown has rejected the state Legislature’s attempt to restrict citizen petitions for the second time in just over a month. Responding to the bill’s draconian requirement that petition circulators wear a badge while talking to voters, the Governor asked:

If it is acceptable to force paid signature gatherers to place identifying badges on their chests, will similar requirements soon be placed on paid campaign workers?

Clearly, Brown saw the absurdity of the badge proposal:

Supporters of initiative rights in California and beyond maintain hope that Gov. Jerry Brown will veto backwards legislation that would force any Californian petitioning her or his government to wear a large badge on their chest, a requirement dubbed a “Yellow Star Law.”

As we’ve reported, the badges required by SB 448 would display information about whether a petition circulator is paid or not: anti-initiative legislators hope that voters will be unlikely to sign petitions when they know the person collecting them is being paid to do so. Less measures on the ballot means less choice for voters, and in turn more power for legislators and the special interests that influence them.

As state Democrat Party leaders push yet again to restrict California voters’ access to their state ballot, a new poll finds the public wary of legislative action. According to the L.A. Times:

A June poll conducted by good-government groups found that although voters support bids for more transparency in the initiative process…they strongly oppose those that would give the Legislature more power.

Citizens in Charge president Paul Jacob sent the following message to California Governor Jerry Brown after the California Legislature went over the deep end and passed an absurd restriction on petitioners for the second time this year:

Dear Governor Brown,

Today I write to ask you to veto Senate Bill 448. If passed the bill would require citizens petitioning for an initiative, referendum or recall, and receiving any kind of compensation whatsoever, to wear a large badge on their chest saying, “PAID SIGNATURE GATHERER.”

[From The Missouri Record]

Established politicians have a vested interest in opposing the right of the people to pass laws through the petition process.  Missouri is no different. As Citizens in Charge wrote in 2010:

With California’s initiative process under attack from all sides, Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee concludes that the state Democrat party is out to destroy voters’ petition rights:

Do California Democrats want to eviscerate the initiative process, or merely smother it to death with a blanket of supposed reforms?

The party has almost complete control of state government and apparently doesn’t want to contend with pesky ballot measures. So this year – the 100th anniversary of the initiative, the referendum and the recall – it has declared war.

Red Light CamEarlier today I blogged about the fight over letting voters take red-light cameras to the ballot in Bellingham, Washington, as well as major votes by officials in Los Angeles and Houston. Now just moments ago from the BanCams Washington State Facebook Page came good news for initiative supporters:


Long-time Washington State initiative activist Tim Eyman has slammed Bellingham officials for signing away the city’s right to defend its voters agains traffic camera operators.

Eyman says the mayor, the city council and the company are “colluding” together to make sure that citizens don’t get a chance to vote on red light cameras. You can listen to the audio here.

San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio sent a complaint letter over the weekend to the California Fair Political Practices Commission alleging that Californians Against Identity Theft is running afoul of state disclosure laws.

Pete PetersonPete Peterson, Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, is the latest to join in the effort to convince California Gov. Jerry Brown to veto Senate Bill 168.