Mark Twain was once quoted as saying: “When the legislature is in session, no man's life, liberty, or property is safe." I wonder if he fully realized what he was saying.
Case in point: The North Dakota Senate passed Senate Bill 2135, which now goes to the House of Representatives. If passed it would create a committee composed of Rino (Republican in name only) legislators and other Rino supporters to recommend changes to restrict and cripple the initiative and referral process.
What this really is is an organized witch hunt in search of a problem that only exists in the minds of those in public office who wish to distance themselves from accountability to the people that elected them.
They want us to forget that we the people are the government and that they are elected by us to represent us and our wishes. But it has come to the point where they think it is the other way around. As a result they have become a ruling monarchy, which is the very reason the Revolutionary War was fought. Instead of a government for the people by the people, it is rapidly becoming a government at the people against the people. Our wonderful “citizen” Legislature!
The framers of our Constitution were very intelligent people. They crafted a form of government without the flaws of their mother government. Likewise as more states joined the union, people became wiser and saw that they needed another recourse, another option to maintain accountability of those whom they elect to represent them in public office. Such as the right of initiative and referral.
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Sadly, what has happened in all 23 states that have the initiative and referral process is that it has come under attack by those the people elect to represent them. We elect people to government who are supposed to represent us and our wishes. But instead, after they are elected they try to pass legislation distancing themselves from the people, restricting our rights in the legislative process. Almost every legislative session bills are introduced that little by little if passed would restrict the initiative and referral process to the point where it would become unusable.
This is how far we have strayed far away from the form of government established by our founding fathers. They say that the right of initiative and referral has been “abused.” They resent the idea of government for the people, by the people. They also fail to mention that any initiative placed on the ballot by the voters and passed would take a super majority to change it during the next seven years, but can be voted down by two-thirds majority of both houses of the Legislature. So what is the big deal? They don’t want anyone looking over their shoulder. They are of the Nancy Pelosi mentality: They have to pass it before we can really find out what’s in it. Make no mistake about it, they want to kill the initiative and referral process completely and for good! Then to add insult to injury they want to appropriate $50,000 for the study. I thought they were so short of money.
They also say that the process is too easy. Anybody who says that has never conducted a petition drive or collected signatures. It takes a lot of work and a lot of shoe leather. I know because I’ve worked different petition drives from top to bottom. It’s something you only do because you feel the issue is important enough to sacrifice your time and energy.
The best solution to this problem would be for we the people to do an initiated measure that would require our legislators to go out and collect the required number of signatures to place any initiated measure restricting our right of initiative and referral on the ballot for the people to vote on. That would put an end to bills such as SB2135.
At present all our lawmakers have to do is secure a simple majority (50.1 percent) and press a button on their desk to place any proposed amendment on the ballot. This is hardly fair, is it?
Please contact your represenatives and tell them to vote an emphatic no on Senate Bill 2135. As I said earlier Senate Bill 2135 is an organized witch hunt, a solution looking for a problem.
Ralph Muecke lives in Gladstone.