California Democrats consider giving lawmakers more say over initiatives
The November election delivered California Democrats a coveted supermajority for governing the state.
Now the party's leader in the Senate wants to use that political capital to give the Legislature more say in the voter initiatives that make their way to the ballot.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg plans to unveil what he calls "a starting point ... to begin a very serious discussion about initiative reform" this month. Key to his proposal will be increasing lawmakers' involvement in the system.
"The initiative process is important and all efforts should be to strengthen it, but the biggest problem, I believe, is that there is not a real connection between the initiative process and representative government in a way that could make both representative government and the initiative product better," he said.
The idea that the state's 101-year-old direct democracy process needs updating isn't new. The rising cost of initiative campaigns, crowded ballots and legal battles over language have fueled calls for reform.
Maybe increasing the number it takes to begin a balllot initiative may work but any movement to let legislators decide if an initiative can go forward at any stage is a blow to grass roots democracy and a very bad idea. So many states now are Gerrymandered and for all I know California is or may be in the future. The initiative process is a continuing and vital weapon to protect democracy for the people in that case. Do not throw out the baby with the bath water. we used the initiative process to stop the Governor's attack on Unions here in Ohio and we will soon use it here to get rid of Gerrymandering by instituting a fair redistricting commission as a constitutional change. Any democrat who supports giving control over citizen initiatives is a no supporter of democracy and unworthy of the name democrat. He is a party loyalist and has chosen party over people. What a shame!
We should as Americans be supporting the progressive mechanism of initiative and referendum everywhere.