Happy 100th Birthday to California’s Citizen Initiative

On this very day a century ago – October 10, 1911 – California voters trekked to the polls to overwhelmingly enact a measure establishing a statewide system of initiative and referendum. Then-Governor Hiram Johnson, newly elected on a reform platform, seized the opportunity presented by his electoral mandate to convince legislators to propose this relatively […]

Big Labor-led Group Endorses Anti-Initiative Legislation

Last week, an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee by Justine Sarver of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center urged California legislators to clampdown on the state’s initiative and referendum process by passing a number of new restrictions on the rights of Golden State citizens to petition their government.

Though she acknowledges that the California Legislature is “corporate-controlled,” Ms. Sarver nonetheless suggests that these new legislative attacks are “common-sense reforms.” Common sense? Many of the bills endorsed by Ms. Sarver and her K Street outfit have been struck down in other states as unconstitutional violations of fundamental First Amendment rights.

Legislators Should Not Wear Badges, Either

Citizens in Charge strongly opposes any legislation requiring state legislators in California to wear—whenever speaking to members of the public—a large badge on their chests, which must read in no smaller than 30-point type, “Member of the California Assembly” or “Assemblymember” or “State Senator” or “Member of the California Senate.”

We also disagree with making legislators wear a large badge that reads in no smaller than 30-point type, “Paid Member of the California Assembly” or “Paid State Senator.”

In fact, we oppose mandating that any citizen of the United States of America must wear any large badge or sign on their chest in order to participate in public speech—regardless of what the government might require be printed on such a placard. Additionally, we do not favor labels for paid or volunteer door-to-door canvassers or campaign managers or campaign volunteers or even for high-priced advertising gurus.