Of the 45 states whose legislatures hold sessions in 2010, 27 of them have adjourned for the year, and 5 more will wrap up before the end of the month. Of the more than 80 bills dealing with the initiative and referendum process in various states, 51 of them would have reduced citizens’ initiative rights. Thanks to the work of activists in our coalitions, only 3 bills reducing citizen’s rights have passed and become law.
The Fair Map Amendment proposal touted by supporters as an anti-corruption tool is falling way short in its quest to get on the November ballot with a deadline fast approaching. The proposed citizen initiative has garnered more than 120,000 petition signatures to get it on the ballot, but that is less than 50 percent of the 288,000-signature threshold. Supporters of the amendment had hoped to finish the petition drive by April 1, but that deadline has come and gone.
Some say changing the culture of corruption in Illinois will require changing the way the state draw legislative districts. Monday night a state Senate committee approved a constitutional amendment that would do that, but it’s not the change for which many reformers had hoped. A citizen group is hoping they’ve gathered enough signatures to put their plan on the November ballot instead.
Park Ridge voters could see questions on their November election ballot asking if they are willing to support funding for flood control and a fight against O’Hare Airport. On Monday night 3rd Ward Alderman Don Bach asked that in April the council continue discussion of possible referendum questions related to issuing bonds to complete flood-control projects and funding efforts related to reducing O’Hare noise and traffic.
It’s great that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn called for Illinois citizens to be able to put ethical reform measures on the ballot, but why stop there? Shouldn’t they be allowed to vote on tax and spending issues as well? What about marriage, school bonds, or smoking bans?
Quinn said he realized there may be “more to do” and underscored his long desire to put on the ballot an initiative that would let voters decide whether they could vote in ethical standards for officials in local and state governments throughout Illinois. “We have shown that when people work together, we can accomplish great things,” Quinn said.
Illinois is technically an initiative state, but the process is very difficult. Illinois citizens do not have the ability to pass their own statutes or repeal statutes passed by the state legislature. The initiative process in Illinois is only advisory. You can read more about the history of I&R in Illinois here.
Back in August Illinois Governor Pat Quinn issed and “amendatory veto” to House Bill 723, the “Protect Incumbents Act”. The bill deals with blocking minor political parties ability to put candidates on the ballot through a party meeting that occurrs after the primary election.
Gov. Pat Quinn is pressing his case for giving citizens the right to toughen local ethics laws by referendum. The Democratic governor and longtime fan of citizen initiatives put the issue on the legislature’s fall veto session agenda by using his authority to rewrite a bill lawmakers sent him. He has asked lawmakers to go along with his changes, but it may be a long shot when they meet in Springfield in mid-October.