While Americans readily share power with their representatives, those representatives tend to resent sharing power with the people who choose them.
Need proof? Take Colorado. Last year, legislators passed a statute to restrict the petition process that Governor Ritter had to veto. Then legislators offered up Referendum O, to make it tougher for citizens to place initiative amendments on the ballot. Voters defeated it.
Now, Colorado legislators — including legislative leaders of both parties — fast-track a new bill to again restrict the initiative process.
In Nevada, the federal courts struck down a requirement that initiative sponsors collect signatures in 13 of 17 counties. Legislators then came back with a new law to force initiative proponents to gather signatures in all 17. That too was struck down. But now legislators propose that petitions must be gathered in all 42 state legislative districts.
In Missouri, Rep. Mike Parson pushes a bill to restrict the petition process. Though Parson admitted in a public hearing that part of his bill is probably unconstitutional, that part remains.
I have an idea. Let’s require that legislators gather a few thousand signatures to gain their own spot on the ballot. And let’s mandate that any restrictions they place on citizens petitioning to put issues on the ballot must also apply to them.
Oh, we might also need to send some of these scheming legislators packing at the next election.