A Bustling Month for Initiatives
November has been a banner month for direct democracy in California – Just ask the offices of the Attorney General and the Secretary of State.
Through November 29th, 26 proposed initiatives have been submitted to the Attorney General for title and summary. Some of the submissions are duplicates or revised versions of the same proposal.
The “Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act” Versions 1 and 2, for example, submitted on November 9 and November 17, respectively.
Seven new initiatives were cleared to begin signature gathering. Five of them need at least 504,760 signatures by mid April. Two amend the state constitution, which requires 807,615 valid signatures.
On November 23, a referendum by the California Republican Party seeking to block the new lines drawn for state Senate districts began having its signatures verified.
Four initiatives failed to gain the signatures required to appear on the ballot, including one that would have shut down the state’s two nuclear power plants until he federal government approves technology for the permanent disposal of nuclear waste.
However, one of the seven initiatives approved for signature gathering seeks to do the same thing.
The “California Taxpayer Protection Act of 2012” was withdrawn from the Attorney General’s office but replaced with a newer, presumably improved, version.
And there’s still one day left in the month.
Among the other initiatives OK’d to try and win a place on next November’s ballot would amend the state constitution to define a person as beginning with conception.
Its sponsor, Walter Hoye II, is president and founder of the Union City based Issues4life Foundation, the California Civil Rights Foundation and the founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of California.
“God used the premature birth (six months, 2.1 pounds) of his son to teach him that the fetus is a person, a living, breathing human being,” the Issues4Life website says.
Another initiative would tax prescription drugs — $.0025 per pill – to raise $7 million to pay for the state’s monitoring of the dispensing of controlled substances.
Although the Legislative Analyst notes the impact of its passage is unclear given federal drug laws, an initiative newly in circulation proposes to decriminalize marijuana for persons 19 years of age and older. Up to three pounds for personal use would be exempt from regulation or taxation.
At the Attorney General’s office awaiting title and summary is a veritable potpourri of initiatives.
There are measures aimed at polluters, protecting taxpayers, labeling genetically engineered food, demanding more free care for indigent patients by nonprofit hopsitals, regulating cannabis and hemp and requiring parental notification if a minor seeks an abortion.
One two-sentence initiative – the “No Train Please Act” — politely seeks repeal of the state’s proposed high-speed rail project.
Less charitably phrased is “No Perks for Part-Time Politicians,” which while stipulating “part-time local officials” deserve fair compensation they don’t deserve lifetime health insurance, pension benefits and other “perks.”
“The Neighborhood Legislature Reform Act” would divide up the state’s existing 120 state Assembly and Senate seats into “neighborhoods” of roughly 5,000 and 10,000 persons each, respectively. Representatives would be elected from each neighborhood and they, in turn, would select one person from that district to be part of the Senate or Assembly Working Committee, which would have the same number of members as the current configuration in both houses.
A seat on the working committee earns a $30,000 salary. A neighborhood representative would receive $1,000 per annum.
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