Sometimes its hard to tell whether LAs check their members’ email addresses, or if they go straight to the member. In the case of Rep. Sherry Appleton, she checks it:
Thanks Emmett. I am Vice-Chair of the Committee, so I will discuss it with Sam as well. Again thank you for your comments and your idea.
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.
After sitting in the Michigan senate for about a year, HB 4328 was passed onto the state’s governor last week. If signed, the bill would change Michigan’s minimum petition size to 8.5 by 11 inches.
Looks like earlier when I was writing about Rep. Toby Nixon’s (who I make fun of on another topic here) bills to shrink the size of the initiative petition to a size that can be printed out on a home printer, I missed some things.
Two years before introducing HB 1014, he introduced HB 2742. And just a couple of years ago, he introduced HB 1129 (Hat tip to Meagan in Rep. Hunt’s office).
HB 1014 and 2742 are pretty much the same bills, but 1129 (introduced in 2005 and 2006 but never getting a hearing) seems to address a criticism of the earlier version. This is a criticism that I’ve heard in my own discussions on the subject. Is is that if a campaign post a pdf file of their petition online, someone might monkey with the petition and get people to sign a fake one.
Here is the new section in 1129:
Nothing in this section prohibits the person proposing the measure from making the blank petition available in electronic form to persons intending to print and circulate petitions, as long as the electronic form is secured so that the blank petition may not be altered by a person of ordinary skill before printing. The secretary of state may make the electronic form of the blank petition available for download from the secretary of state’s web site.
Which I guess means “post it as a pdf instead of a word file.” Anyone with a bit more than ordinary skill could of course mock up a different pdf file, but then again, as I’ve pointed out before, anyone can fake an initiative petition right now. The size of a petition doesn’t make it any easier or more likely that someone would do that kind of thing.
Its also interesting that in five years, Rep. Nixon’s co-sponsors on these bills have dropped from three in 2001, to two in 2003 and then to none in 2005. I don’t know what this says, but maybe reforming the initiative process among Republicans lost its steam last year.