Tell Frank Chopp: “Don’t allow these anti-initiative bills to become law”
There’s only one legislator who citizens need to convince to stop these anti-initiative bills from becoming law: and that’s Speaker of the House Frank Chopp. He decides what bills make it out of the Rules committee, which bills get a floor vote, which bills become law.
That after-school special describing how a bill becomes law may apply to other Legislatures, but not this one. In Washington state, it’s all about one guy.
There are 2 horribly destructive anti-initiative bills that got voted out of committee last week. I need all of you to tell Frank Chopp that you don’t want him to allow them to become law:
HB 1537/SB 5397, the gotta-register-with-the-government-to-collect-signatures-bill. The ACLU testified vigorously against the legislation because it “makes no sense” and it has already been found unconstitutional. Kitsap Sun, February 9, 2011, http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/local-news/bill-to-restrict-signature-gatherers-gets: “Blinn said the Secretary of State’s Office office tried to register paid signature gatherers about 10 years ago and was legally challenged. The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that registering only paid signature gathers was unconstitutional, she said.” SEATTLE TIMES, February 10, 2011, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorials/2014189004_edit11signatures.html: “The parts of the bills that would treat paid people differently from unpaid people are unconstitutional under current case law, said Katie Blinn, the state’s co-director of elections.” From the 9th circuit ruling: “The court has expressly rejected the notion that occasional fraud involving paid circulators for initiatives justifies targeting paid petitioners for special enforcement.” For the past 20 years in Washington state, there’s been 19.9 million signatures turned in for 63 ballot measures — in all that time, only a handful of bad sigs were ever turned in and in those few instances, several didn’t even involve a professional circulator. This legislation imposes a massive burden (in Oregon, it quadrupled the costs) on “core political speech” to address a problem that doesn’t exist. Speaker Chopp, stop this legislation from becoming law.
SB 5386, the initiative death-by-delay bill. Imposing years of delay by forcing the courts to review initiatives before they even qualify for the ballot? On top of that, adding months of delays for a “public comment period” and processing by the bureaucracy and imposing massive filing fee increases? These additional and substantial burdens will obviously deter regular citizens from using the initiative process. Only the powerful and wealthy will be willing to tolerate, and be able to afford, the extra costs and delays. Imagine these same burdens being placed on legislative bills in Olympia — massive filing fees for legislators’ bills, years of judicial review before bills get a hearing, months of public comment periods and excessive bureaucratic delays. Frank Chopp would balk at such burdens being imposed on the legislative process, he should say no to such burdens on the people’s process.
If one or both of these bills become law, the citizen initiative process is dead in our state (again, Oregon’s costs quadrupled after these burdens were added).
If one or both of these bills become law, it’s because Frank Chopp allowed it.
Send the Speaker of the House an email that says this or something like this (tell him what you think):
“Speaker Chopp, I ask you to protect the initiative process from this year’s crop of anti-initiative bills. If one or both of these bills become law, the citizen initiative process is dead in our state and that’s something I do not want. You are the most powerful legislator in Olympia — you decide which bills become law. I urge you to heed the warning of the ACLU and others and oppose HB 1537/SB 5397 because it imposes a massive burden on petitioning which the courts have found to be ‘core political speech’. Very few people will be willing to collect voter signatures if they first must be registered by the government, licensed by the government, trained by the government, be subjected to criminal background checks, be forced to submit photo headshots and drivers licenses, put forth their name, where they and their children live, their phone numbers, email addresses, and which initiatives they’ll be collecting signatures for. And fewer petitioners means fewer opportunities for voters to sign petitions they support. And I urge you to stop SB 5386 from becoming law. It imposes years of delay by forcing the courts, for the first time in our state’s history, to adjudicate on initiatives that may not qualify for the ballot or be passed by voters. And the bill’s massive new filing fees and months of gratuitous bureaucratic delays will only put the people’s initiative process even more out of reach of regular citizens. Mr. Speaker, these bills are flat-out unAmerican and need to be stopped. I ask that you make sure that none of them become law. Our rights are in your hands — don’t take them away. I urge you to leave the initiative process alone.”
Subject line: Speaker Frank Chopp, don’t allow these anti-initiative bills to become law.
Cut and paste these email addresses into the To line of your email:
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sending this email to Speaker Chopp will really help — BUT IT’S ONLY EFFECTIVE IF WE ALL DO IT.
After 20 years of fighting for taxpayers, we’ve learned that the most effective way to fight the Democrats’ tax-hiking schemes is by taking our case directly to the people. That’s why we’re moving full steam ahead with We Don’t Want An Income Tax. It prohibits the state and local governments from imposing any kind of income tax, especially a capital gains income tax.
Jack, Mike, and I are committed to protecting taxpayers. But we can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help.