From the OMG You Must Be Kidding Me file:
November 2008 is a long time away, but legendary archconservative Bill Sizemore has been clogging up the ballot initiative rolls for that election cycle for months now. Of the 31 initiatives filed so far, all but five have Sizemore’s name next to them.
Considering his long and well-documented inability to follow signature-gathering laws (google “Bill Sizemore” and “racketeering”), the most howlingly funny of his proposed initiatives pertains to a reform of that very system—a “reform” that would reverse Measure 26, which banned payment of signature gatherers on a per signature basis. (The co-chief petitioner is Tim Trickey, who runs a signature gathering firm called Democracy Direct.) It would allow signature gatherers to “be paid in any manner which is legal for any other business to pay its employees or contractors for providing a service, including on a ‘per signature’ basis.”
Of course, it’s not called the “Repeal Measure 26 Act of 2008.” That would probably not go over well, since voters passed M26 by a 3-1 margin. No, the initiative—a constitutional amendment—is called “Petition Forgers Must Do Jail Time.” Peep it for yourself here.
Well, you see, instead of banning per signature payment, which arguably creates an irresistable incentive to engage in fraud and forgery, the initiative would stem fraud by imposing a minimum 6-month jail sentence for anyone convicted of forging signatures on a petition. They'd also be "banned from collecting signatures for payment on an initiative or referendum petition in the State of Oregon for a period of not less than five years."
Not surprisingly, an early version of the initiative also contained a protection against penalizing the chief petitioners of a campaign for fraud committed by people circulating their petitions. (By contrast, the Measure 26 Coalition, which has filed complaints against nine campaigns, argues that chief petitioners are de facto campaign managers, and therefore are ulitimately responsible for the wrongdoing by circulators.) That language was stripped from the most recent version--likely because adding it in would violate the rule against constitutional amendments having more than one provision.
Sizemore and Trickey's laundry list of ideas to roll back initiative system regulations joins a few other rightwing ballot measures lining up for 2008. Like Lon Mabon's "Student Protection Act"--the resurrection of Measure 9, which would outlaw the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools (meaning, essentially, that it can only be mentioned as a disease).
Mabon's got another creepy, creepy initiative called the "Public Decency Act," which would amend our constitutional right to free speech. It would add the following language to Article 1, Sec. 8 of the state constitution:
"The free expression of opinion applies to beliefs, thoughts and personal judgment regarding a matter, and shall not include conduct or personal behavior."
It sounds wonky, but do yourself a favor and go through the initiatives, even just the ballot titles. Check it here.
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