Initiative and referendum

Kansas scores poorly in initiative and referendum rights

Citizens in Charge Foundation -- a transpartisan national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process -- has released its 2010 Report Card on Statewide Voter Initiative Rights. Those familiar with Kansas will not be surprised to learn that our state scores poorly, as do many other states. Why are initiative and referendum rights important? The report's introduction tell us: As governments have grown at local, metropolitan, state, and federal levels, the power of entrenched factions has also grown, vis-à-vis the citizenry. Traditional representative government has proven unreliable in restraining itself constitutionally, often to the point of…
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Oklahoma tinkers with petition law; Kansas has none

Sometimes we in Kansas like to poke fun at our neighbors to the south in Oklahoma. I'm sure they do the same to us. But one way in which Oklahoma has Kansas beat is in Oklahoma citizens' ability to petition their government through the process of initiative and referendum. It's not possible to do this in Kansas, at least for our state government. And Oklahomans have to be vigilant to make sure the right to petition isn't taken away from them. It's a continual effort. Paul Jacob, president of the Citizens in Charge Foundation summarizes the legislative action in Oklahoma…
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Democracy thrives as Ballotpedia surpasses the 10 million page views milestone

From the Sam Adams Alliance. Chicago, June 8 -- When Americans went to the polls in November and continued casting ballots during the 2009 off-year elections, they turned to Ballotpedia (www.ballotpedia.org) to get objective information about candidates and ballot initiatives. The California pages pertaining to Proposition 8 and the more recent ballot measures alone garnered more than 1.3 million page views. That is why the Ballotpedia community is celebrating its 10 millionth page view. "During the November election as well as the current off-year elections that feature many local races as well as ballot initiatives, Ballotpedia became the source used…
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Still Oklahoma’s most wanted

A Wall Street Journal editorial explains the recent development in the case of Paul Jacob and two others in Oklahoma. This case is of interest for a few reasons. First, I know and like Paul Jacob. He's been at the forefront of the fight for term limits. The Oklahoma case stems from his advocacy of initiative and referendum, something we don't have in Kansas. Second, this case illustrates how government officials, in this case the attorney general of Oklahoma, can misuse their office and power for political gain. We in Kansas can only hope that our good neighbors to our…
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Kansas Lags in Initiative and Referendum

On Saturday I traveled to Oklahoma City to attend "Reforming the Reform Process: How to Restore Oklahoma's Initiative." What I learned is that Oklahomans are concerned with reforming a valuable citizen right that doesn't exist at all in Kansas. The initiative process allows citizens to place a question on a ballot to be voted on by the people. This is helpful when the legislature or governor refuse to pass laws that the people want. Referendum allows for laws that have been passed to be revoked. In both cases, citizens usually have to gather a large number of signatures in order…
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