In the last week, calls for citizens to have the right to initiative and referendum have been heard loud and clear in New Jersey and South Carolina.
In tackling the issue of marijuana legalization, New Jersey Star Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine longs for a way voters can decide, writing “if only we had I&R here in New Jersey.”
He’s not sure Colorado voters got it right in legalizing pot, but notes, “Polls show Coloradans are evenly divided on legalization - as are New Jersey voters. The difference is that there they can gather signatures to reverse it if they so desire. Here we’re stuck with whatever the politicians hand us.”
Last weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1253, the so-called “Ballot Measure Transparency Act,” into law.
Sponsored by Sen. Darrell Steinberg, the legislation requires the Secretary of State to post the top 10 donors to committees supporting or opposing ballot measures on the Internet, gives proponents 30 additional days to gather signatures (from the current 150 days to 180 days), provides a 30-day public comment period after which proponents can make changes to their initiative proposal without having to re-start the process, and also allows proponents to withdraw their initiative should they reach some compromise with the legislature.
It seems for now, California will have to stay as a singular state.
Venture capitalist Tim Draper’s multi-million dollar “Six Californias” initiative failed to gather enough valid signatures, according to the California Secretary of State. The initiative would have begun the process to create six separate states out of California, giving 38 million Californians new, smaller state governments and economies.
Draper contests the findings of the Secretary of State, however.
“Six Californias collected more than enough signatures to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot and we are confident that a full check of the signatures would confirm that fact,” said Draper in a statement.