No matter what you think about a $15-per-hour minimum wage, the legislative deal to advance such a wage offered a small but important victory – for the cause of putting more flexibility in California’s direct democracy.

California’s versions of ballot initiatives and referenda have long been distinguished by their inflexibility. No other place on earth says that laws made by initiative can’t be changed except by another vote of the people.

And until recently, California was nearly as inflexible on the front end of the initiative process, by refusing to let initiative sponsors to edit measures or remove from the ballots.

Legislation that I’ve criticized for a variety of reasons did open that door—not enough but just a crack. And that created enough space for the labor sponsors of measures to raise the minimum hourly wage to $15 to make a deal with the governor on legislation. Assuming the deal holds, an initiative to raise the minimum wage will be removed from the ballot.

There should be much more flexibility—making edits and removals of initiatives possible much later in the process; ideally, you could . And California desperately needs non-monetary alternatives to qualifying measures for the ballot; now the only ideas that advance are ones whose backers have enough money for signatures.

The minimum wage deal is a small sign of progress, in an area—direct democracy – where there’s usually very little good to say about California.