Rep. Sherry Appleton is at least talking the right talk about her paid-per-signature ban:
The whole issue behind Initiative and Referendum is it belongs to the people. The framers of the State Constitution envisioned citizens who were passionate about issues – either enacting legislation or repealing what the legislature had passed – to go out to the general public and gather signatures. It was not supposed to be an easy process – we do not have direct democracy but a representative democracy.
It was not supposed to be big business, but a heartfelt response to what action or inaction in the legislature.
Instead of just making it harder for folks to buy their way onto the ballot (a goal I’m 100 percent for, by the way), why not make it easier for citizens to use the initiative process? Right now Washington requires the largest petitions in the country for ballot petitions. There is no real reason for this, but it prevents anyone that doesn’t have tens of thousands of dollars on hand from launching any sort of grassroots campaign.
Allowing anyone to print out and circulate a petition would do more to hand the initiative process back to citizens than banning paid-per-signature.