Free Liberal

Coordinating towards higher values

The Big Initiative Chill

by Paul Jacob

The gall. I mean, don't these guys realize how obvious they are?

In Arizona, supporters of proposed new reforms say they would "correct flaws" in the initiative process and make it "more open."

What does "more open" mean? To mere citizens it would mean fewer obstacles to participating in the initiative process.

Not to Arizona lawmakers. To them it's about making the process tougher. Which sort of defeats the whole point of citizen initiative.

Sometimes citizens need to bypass state legislators when they decline to pass a law that voters like but politicians don't. Citizens can be wrong, of course. But it's not as if legislators pass only good laws. Besides, citizens are, often, right.

Representative Kirk Adams has introduced measures to "solve" the "problem" of citizens having too much say. The proposals include giving lawmakers the power to gut it a few years after it has passed, letting lawmakers write the title of a measure, making it harder to fund an initiative, making it harder to collect signatures, making it harder to pay signature gatherers for actually gathering signatures.

Representative Adams simultaneously tells reporters that he's not trying to undercut the power of people to make laws -- and that if his measures aren't accepted, lawmakers will have to consider . . . more drastic measures. One lawmaker wants to stop initiatives from going on the ballot unless they have first been introduced by a lawmaker.

All part of that "more open" process these guys are aiming for. Open-and-shut, you might say.

Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" is published by the Sam Adams Alliance. Their website can be visited at www.samadamsalliance.org.