The Taxpayer Association, Bill Sizemore, and the signature gathering entrepreneur company, Democracy Direct, defended the people’s initiative process during the House Election, Ethics and Rules Committee on Jan. 31st. Opponents of the people’s initiative process listed out their laundry list of horrible ideas to make petitioning more difficult.
(1) One year time limit for gathering signatures (A 50% cut)
(2) Raise signature requirement threshold by 20%
(3) Raise number of sponsors to qualify petition to start
(4) Require all ballot measure election complaints (frivolous or not) to be listed in the state voters’ pamphlet (yet not list any election complaints aimed at measure opponents)
(5) Require official legislative blessings for all voter approved measures before they become law
(6) Make chief petitioners liable for what any signature gatherer may do while collecting signatures.
The Taxpayer Association testified that already thousands of legitimate voter signatures are cancelled every year due to legal technicalities. It was disturbing on how the anti-initiative lobby wanted to combat fraud by enacting new laws to club chief petitioners, while the pro-initiative lobby wanted to combat fraud by targeting laws to those who actually commit it fraud.
The new Legislative Majority choosing to start Session by taking away the people’s petition voice is a blow to their populism appeal and a signal that it is business as usual — if not worse — at the State Capitol.