“California’s initiative process needs reform — not repeal”

Bob Stern in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Thus, any changes will be difficult to pass, but if I could amend the initiative process, here is what I would do:

  1. Extend the number of days that a measure could be circulated from 180 days to a full year. This would allow grass-roots proponents a chance to get signatures without having to pay large sums for professional circulators.
  2. Require the Legislature to hold a hearing on the measure before it qualifies for the ballot. If the Legislature passes the measure in a form suitable to the drafters of the initiative, it would be taken off the ballot. This proposal might mean a reduction of one or two initiatives that voters would have to consider at the ballot box.
  3. After the legislative hearing, allow the proponents to amend their measure without having to recirculate it, provided the amendments are approved by the Attorney General’s Office as being consistent with the purposes and goals of the original initiative. This proposal would make for better drafted measures.
  4. Allow the Legislature to amend any statutory initiative that is approved by the voters by a two-thirds vote provided the legislative amendments further the purposes of the initiative. Most initiatives today allow such amendments, but some do not. This proposal would reduce the need for another measure to clean up the original initiative.

 

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