ballot initiatives

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Missouri: To limit initiative petitions in Missouri, some want to charge fees | The Kansas City Star

Ten years ago, 15 initiative petitions were filed with the secretary of state’s office in the hopes of making it on the statewide ballot. This year, that number has skyrocketed to 330 and counting. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a first-term Republican and the state’s top election official, says the initiative petition process is getting out of hand. The time and resources spent on ballot summaries, signature verification, fiscal analysis and publication in the media go up every year along with the number of petitions. So he’s asking lawmakers to overhaul a process he says is being dominated by special interests, most notably by charging fees for filing initiative petitions and verifying signatures once they are collected. “Right now, we have individuals who are spending millions of dollars because they can’t get the laws that they want and they want to bypass the legislature,” Ashcroft said. “I think that’s inappropriate. We shouldn’t be subsidizing that with taxpayer dollars.”

Full Article: To limit initiative petitions in Missouri, some want to charge fees | The Kansas City Star.

Washington: Voters to decide ‘initiative on initiatives’ | Capital Press

Washington state residents have plenty of experience voting on new law proposals, but next month they’ll decide on an “initiative on initiatives” that would make it easier to get such measures on the ballot. The proposal, Initiative 517, was sparked in part by a series of legal battles over local measures seeking to block red light cameras, including one case last year that went to the state Supreme Court. By requiring that voters be allowed to have their say on any proposal that qualifies for the ballot, even if a lawsuit has been filed against it, the initiative pushes back at cities that have sued — some successfully — to block local challenges to the cameras. “Initiative power is not subject to pre-election challenges,” said Mark Baerwaldt, a spokesman for the campaign. “It’s the way the will of the people is expressed.” The initiative also would give supporters a year, instead of the current six months, to collect signatures, and it would make it a misdemeanor to interfere with the signature-gathering process. Business groups and others have lined up in opposition, saying the proposal will affect their ability to deal with nuisances outside of their stores.

Full Article: Capital Press | Washington state voters to decide ‘initiative on initiatives’.