Lawmakers Attempt To Change Ballot Initiative 

Lawmakers Attempt To Change Ballot Initiative 
Posted by FoM on January 17, 2002 at 09:13:03 PT
By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos
Source: Fox
In many states across the country, the will of the people is being undermined by the will of the politicians. Dozens of ballot initiatives that have been passed by citizens over the last decade are being repealed, ignored or challenged in court by state legislators or federal agencies."What you've seen is behind-the-scenes judicial actions and where that is not possible, you've seen outright bans," said Dane Waters, president of the Initiative and Referendum Institute in Washington, D.C. 
Defenders of such state actions, however, say the legislatures are just doing their jobs. Laws, whether passed by legislatures or by the people, are not perfect from the outset and should be subject to scrutiny and modification, even if that means returning it to the people more than once, said Jennie Drage-Bowser, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.Every state's rules regarding ballot initiatives are different. Currently, 27 states have a ballot initiative process, which in every case requires an expensive signature-gathering campaign before a measure can go before the voters. The process makes it difficult to get initiatives on the ballot in the first place.Some states have legislative bodies that can repeal unpopular ballot initiatives with a simple vote when they do get on the ballot. And in some other states, the legislature can put the question back on the ballot to attempt to overturn it. As an alternative to both, the courts get involved on behalf of the government. Some of the many issues that have drawn controversy are those regarding animal rights and assisted suicide statutes elected through the initiative process. Others include medical marijuana and term limits on the very lawmakers who try to overturn the ballot initiatives.According to U.S. Term Limits, 19 states have passed limits to the number of years state officials can serve, most of them within the last decade.But in 13 of those 19 states, term limits are being threatened just as they are kicking in on lawmakers. "It is really quite unbelievable," said Stacie Rumenap, president of U.S. Term Limits, which helped to get several initiatives passed. "It's really unfair. It shows why the initiative is so important in the first place. The legislators make laws to benefit themselves."Drage-Bowser said Rumenap's assessment is way off base."I disagree with that accusation 100 percent," she said, noting that in no state has the legislature been successful in amending or repealing term limits, even if it is their right to do so. "I think lawmakers work really hard at what they do and are dedicated to public service."While state legislatures have not been able to repeal term limits, they have had their interests pursued in the courts. The most graphic example is an Oregon court that recently struck down term limits supported by 70 percent of the voters. In a lawsuit pursued by the state Legislature, the high court ruled that a ballot initiative could not affect more than one area of the constitution at a time. Since the term limits initiative passed in 1992 affects both district and statewide officials, it pertains to multiple sections of the state constitution, the court ruled.While Oregonians are striving to put yet another initiative on the ballot for 2002, the court battle has left a sour taste in the mouths of citizens, said Rumenap. "Basically, the Legislature did not want to put it on the ballot themselves and opted to have the court do their dirty work," she said.State lawmakers opposed to medical marijuana laws have used the federal government to defend their positions. Eight states have passed ballot initiatives approving the use of medical marijuana for sick patients since 1996. But in May the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on the distribution of marijuana for this purpose, allowing the feds to jump in where state law enforcement is no longer allowed to interfere. Federal officials have cracked down hardest on California distributors, which are the largest and most organized in the country."From the very beginning, from the very day these things passed, the federal government has sought ways to thwart the will of the voters," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. St. Pierre said the federal government also works closely with state officials to help them subvert initiatives or to keep them off of ballots entirely.In Oregon, where an initiative has already passed, the government has made medical marijuana so difficult to possess that the state is being taken to court. In Colorado and Arizona, the same initiatives had to come before voters and pass twice before the state legislatures would accept them. Most recently in Ohio, supporters of an initiative that would send drug offenders to treatment, not jail, are charging the governor and other officials with using public money to wage a campaign against them. Gov. Bob Taft said he believes the measure is a "de facto decriminalization of drugs."Drage-Bowser said legislators are well within their powers as representatives of the people to dispute initiatives' worth. "I think they're looking out for the best interests of their state," she said. "That's their job." But St. Pierre said the greatest mistake politicians can make is to second-guess, or worse, act like a "mother-knows-best" legislator. "To me, the cardinal sin is to have the people vote for something and then to call them stupid, easily misled, easily manipulated."Complete Title: Lawmakers Attempt To Change Ballot Initiative Outcomes Newshawk: DankhankSource: FoxNews.comAuthor: Kelley Beaucar VlahosPublished: Thursday, January 17, 2002Copyright: Fox News Network, LLC 2002 Contact: comments Website: Articles & Web Sites:NORML Plans Push To Legalize Medical Marijuana Proposes Treatment, Not Jail Time
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Comment #3 posted by DdC on January 18, 2002 at 15:28:22 PT
The State of Administrated Confusion
Besides the politico's overturning initiatives, when they can't block them in the first place that is, Is removing another check and balance. Like they did when Klintoon ask the Supremes for intervention, or when Monsanto profits on dead pheasants spraying ditchweed for Ashcraft in Missouri. Or faith based treatment- Jail or Jesus? They don't seem to enforce the laws they don't wish, like gun sales and booze to kids. 6000 gun laws on the books another one to abuse won't do any good. Kids die from booze that isn't used in the $30 billion WoD, except when stats are needed to justify Colombian black hawks spraying more Monstanto on Native farmers. Incentives in place are a disgrace to anyone hailing from the United States. 95% of the pot bust are plea bargained away from the 5th amendment jury of your peers. Though that in itself has gone with paid days wages given to government and corporate employees while the rest lose the days pay as their duty. So using your rights may not be wise if the plea is dention and a fine compared to losing to a jury most likely not questioning the authority. Taking food stamps and tuition from the poor, keep minimum wages 1/3 of the cost of living as a deterrant the same as the homeless and hungry. The product of WoD is on sale, and sold to the tax payers as something to fear. Bringing together Protestants and the Pope in concordance with the Fascist WoD Junkies vested ignorance.The Supremist don't worry about looking like GOPers when the rest of the Houses are in the same disorder. Now its up to the DARE county clerk to issue free speech and the right to assemble. The same bogus Bushit as nixing heat sensors without an anonymous tip. Secret searches, no knock warrants, internet censoring hemp, calling it protecting the kids from meth. 3 stikes put away for life in spite of the fact they were 3 balls instead. Wiretaps on people not wires, mandatory sentences voiding court Justers. Any trace of thc loses rights, jobs and money though traces of arcenic have legally risen and tobacco products still isn't listing, the additional chemicals not in the ganja, though the child brainwashers won't tell ya. The drugczar, a chemist profits on pisstest, while Bushit and Cheney and Enron and Carlyles keep fossil fuels reigning and biomass stigmatized as they do with medical cannabis keeping profits to their Pharmaceutical and Frankenfood interest. Starving babies and illegal food, but the 1/4 million tons of chemicals used, on cotton's ok, it will eventually runoff into their bellies I guess. NIDA schwagg requiring more toking and nasties in the smoke showing the propagandist a ray of hope. New test called for since the rest are all positive proving once and for all that rope isn't a medical miracle. Just like Bushit and Rayguns tried before, also suffocating Bonzo and calling it OD. Radiation in the ground seeping into our food plants, organic farming frowned upon, like homegrown meds don't have the value$$$ in the chemical profits, treating Cancer or Parkinson probably caused by the same pesticides. Or the side effects requiring more pills and elixers that ganja remedies don't. Bob Barr removing the vote, while many others try their damndest to genetically fungicide it to extinction. And the "patriots" keep jerking that plastic and drinking and singing in obedience. Ends justifying their dysfunctional means, profiting on our misery isn't what I call Americana, or capitalism or even sanity. Did you know kids have been taken from parents for simply advocating? While shrinks force ritalin or juvi prison where thousands of boys get raped each year, another deterrant? Prison profits on the 1.2 million or profits on perpetuating the war on plants in competition. Can't buy it in a club with better ganja and less toxins, Unkle Bushit says its better to get it from the local crack dealer, or if you want the best, just become an agent of And instead of buying it with cash you can exchange your soul for some stash.
The Untied States of Anemica ain't what it looks like in the broshure.
Peace, Love and Liberty
DdCBack to the Inquizition
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Comment #2 posted by xxdr_zombiexx on January 17, 2002 at 16:58:47 PT
the United State of amerika?
What in the hell is the point of having a ballot-initiative process if the politicians in power seek to thwart and de-rail them every time they see one?I think of this every single time I see one of the police cruisers with the "NO POT" symbol (pot leaf inside a red circle with a slash) on its rear window. Its supposed to stand for the LIE of "Zero Tolerance", but as this article clearly shows, that Zero Tolerance extends to people's RIGHT to engage in a wholly-legal, constitutional ballot iniative. Remember the Colorado Politico found dead in her office having hoarded thousands of signature to purposefullly SCREW a cannabis ballot initiative? Cannabis legalization is the main issue wherein the government is clearly unhappy that change is legal and constitutional. Cannabis PRohibition creates more crime, corruption, lying, malfeasence, incompetence, chicanery, deciet, and all the accomopanying abuses of power known to exist in human political behavior.It even forces politicians to NOT suck up to the public sentiment - the main thing politiians try to do.This Drage-Browser person is a real piece of work - must take knee-pads to suck up to state legislators and a fifth of whiskey to stomach saying shit like "Legislators sre committed to the people". She should be able to see the massive infringement on states rights - she's thier lobbiest for god's sake. (Policy analyst - whoop-dee-freakin-do) A prostitute by any other name.FREEDOM ENDURES
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on January 17, 2002 at 14:39:42 PT
What a State we're in
Drage-Bowser said legislators are well within their powers as representatives of the people to dispute initiatives' worth. "I think they're looking out for the best interests of their state," she said. "That's their job." There are only two little letters standing between "their state" and "The State", that holy sacred object whose interests are placed far above the interests of individuals in the Communist and Fascist political ideologies.Under the democratic system we supposedly observe in this country, the state whose interests elected officials are supposed to look after is the state of the Constitution, which public servants swear to uphold when they take office. The Constitution tells them that the interests that must be protected are those of the voters, not The State.Oh, what a State we're in here!I guess this is a question of State's Rights vs. states' rights.
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