Looks like voters will get to decide whether the city should scrap its current pension program.

Political consultant Pete Zimmerman emailed The Range today to inform us that the Committee for Sustained Retirement Benefits has turned in more than 23,000 signatures to put the Sustainable Retirement Benefits Act on the November city ballot. The group needed 12,730 valid signatures, so there’s lots of padding there to fight off legal challenges.

The initiative would force the city to scrap the current pension program for new hires and instead enroll them in a program similar to a 401K system.

On June 28, the Lucy Burns Institute released a summary of news related to the Initiative and Referendum process. Several court cases, news stories and bills to watch are profiled.

Read more: here.

The lawyer for Democratic Colorado Senate President John Morse made his first public case Thursday for tossing all 10,000-plus signatures certified as valid for triggering a recall election against the pol.

Mark Grueskin, an attorney representing a constituent who brought the complaint against the recall effort, said the petitions should be deemed invalid because they didn’t contain language specifying that there would be an election to replace Morse if he’s recalled.

A second Colorado senator faces a possible exodus from office from voters for her controversial stance on gun control.

The recall petition for Sen. Angela Giron’s was ratified on Monday, with about 1,400 valid signatures to spare.

After Giron’s support of various gun control initiatives in March, the grassroots organization Pueblo Freedom and Rights launched the recall measure against the District 3 Democrat.

Senate President John Morse remains adamant he will charge forward into what could be the first recall election of a state lawmaker in Colorado history, though organizers in support of the Colorado Springs lawmaker are weighing all their options ”” including the possibility of Morse stepping down ”” before any election date is set.

“Decisions are happening nonstop in a recall,” said Kjersten Forseth, a consultant to A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, who notes that resignation is an option, though it’s not a focus at this point. “As a team, we’re always re-evaluating where we are on a daily basis. It’s not something you can map out like in a normal campaign.”

For the first time in 20 years, Maryland voters had a chance last November to decide whether major legislation passed by state lawmakers would become law, thanks largely to the help of an online tool that made it easier to submit valid signatures in referendum petition drives.

The sudden appearance of three ballot questions after two decades without any made some in Annapolis talk about referendums becoming a regular feature on Election Day, giving outnumbered Republicans a new way of battling against the Democratic majority in the Maryland General Assembly.

Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and some lawmakers even mentioned the possibility of raising the bar from the verified 55,736 signatures needed to trigger a referendum.

Besides the “whodunnit” suspense surrounding the alleged forgery of Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham’s name on a ballot initiative petition for an ethics reform law, unanswered questions include “who knew what” and “when did they know it.”

Just a few days before a Supreme Court hearing on issues to determine whether signatures should be allowed to count to get the initiative on the ballot, the Utah Attorney General’s Office filed a motion to have Durham recused because she had signed the petition.

Opponents of a measure to repeal the death penalty in Maryland said Friday they fell short of their goal to collect enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot in the 2014 election.

Del. Neil C. Parrott, one of the leaders of the effort, said about 15,000 signatures were collected since the beginning of May. That number fell short of the nearly 18,600 certified signatures required by the Friday deadline.

Friday’s deadline was the initial hurdle. A total of about 55,750 certified signatures were needed by the end of June for the issue to go to a voter referendum.

“We did not have enough (signatures) for the first turn-in,” said Parrott, R-Washington. “The groundswell that we needed … wasn’t there.”

A recall effort against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio went down in flames Thursday. Leaders of the group, Respect Arizona and Citizens for a Better Arizona did not collect the necessary number of signatures to force a recall election, the Los Angeles Times reported.

They needed 335,000 by 5 p.m.

Citizens for a Better Arizona President Randy Parraz said the two groups only got 300,000, United Press International reported.

The failure was not much of a surprise. Early Thursday morning, group members were suggesting in various media reports that they weren’t going to meet the recall requirements.

Senate Bill 154 continued its march through the Oregon legislature this week, despite the protestations of prominent petition-rights supporters and citizen groups.  The bill moved via a party-line vote of 16-14 in the Senate, with Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing the legislation.

SB 154 requires petition firms to register with the Secretary of State and also to sign a statement affirming that the firms will not break the law. The bill also forces initiative campaigns to have two representatives swear that the campaign has broken no law. The problem is that petition companies and initiative sponsors can then be prosecuted on a felony charge of “false swearing” if someone working for them does anything wrong, even through an innocent mistake.

A broad coalition of citizens groups and petition-rights supporters in Oregon, joined by Citizens in Charge, sent a letter to state senators urging them to defeat Senate Bill 154, which “represents the extreme criminalization of direct democracy.” The bill is expected to be voted on by the full state senate next week.

A referendum petition regarding a zoning ordinance that would allow construction of a Walmart Neighborhood Market is one step closer to appearing on a ballot.

Russellville City Clerk Kathy Collins confirmed Thursday she verified 917 of the petition’s signatures; 878 signatures were required.

The petition called for a special election on Aug. 13 to allow voters to decide whether to keep or overturn an ordinance rezoning property located at South Vancouver Avenue and West Main Street to a planned unit development (PUD).

A senate panel voted Wednesday to throw some additional hurdles in the path of Arizonans who want to write their own laws.

Existing law already has a set of requirements for putting a measure on the ballot to propose a new statute or constitutional amendment. These include for who can circulate petitions, what has to be on each page and how many names can be on each sheet.

Arizona is trying to sneak one in on us! Just this week – a full month after the legislature’s target date for adjourning this year’s session – a new bill has been introduced, Senate Bill 1493, which tosses caltrops in the path of citizens petitioning for initiatives, referendums or recalls.

In an April 26 editorial, The Spokesman-Review advanced several arguments on why it thought the Clean and Fair Elections Ordinance should not become the law in Spokane. As a member of the group that sponsored that ballot initiative, I assure you we are anxious to respond to those arguments.

However, an election campaign is the time for that. The issue at hand now is whether or not the voters should have the right to vote on this at all. It appears that some on the Spokane City Council and The Spokesman-Review editorial board feel they should not; that this initiative should be stopped before it goes on the ballot.

Read More: Here