The Initiative and Referendum Institute fact sheet; "History of Initiative and Referendum in the United States" gives a detailed view of the issue:
- Initiative and Referendum has been around since the 1600's when citizens of New England placed ordinances on the agenda and voted in town meetings.
- Thomas Jefferson first proposed a Legislative Referendum for the 1775 Virginia State Constitution.
- Massachusetts held the first statewide Legislative Referendum for citizens to ratify it's Constitution in 1778.
- New Hampshire followed suit in 1792.
- South Dakota became the first state to adopt statewide Initiative and Popular Referendum on November 5, 1898.
- Oregon approved it by an 11-1 margin in 1902.
- Mississippi was the last state to adopt I&R in 1992.
- 24 states have adopted Initiative and Popular Referendum.
What exactly is the Initiative and Referendum process you may ask? It is a grassroots process by which citizens have the ability to adopt laws and amend their state constitutions. It allows citizens the ability to reject laws or amendments proposed by their state legislators. In a day and age where legislators seem to have forgotten they work for We the People, I&R empowers citizens to take part in reclaiming control of their destiny.
There are two types of Initiatives; Direct (Constitutional amendments/statutes are placed on the ballot for citizen approval or defeat.) and Indirect (Constitutional amendments/statutes are submitted to state legislators.) There are two types of Referendum; Popular (People can refer through petition specific legislation to be accepted or rejected by the people.) and Legislative (Legislators submit propositions for citizen approval or rejection.)
Alabamians need to work towards instituting the Initiative and Referendum process. This method of real change can be the catalyst for reining in out of control government. Many Legislators have lost touch with the people they represent and operate outside of the consent of the governed. They vote themselves pay raises (2007 62% pay increase), push for more government (Forever Wild/Trust Fund raids, and perpetuate continual deadlock on important issues. I&R is a way to take Alabama back from career politicians.
Governor Fob James pushed for I&R but came to a dead end. Don Siebold on April 27, 2005 in prepared testimony for the Alabama House of Representatives Constitution and Elections Committee for H.B. 276 stated;
"...it would send a message to your constituents that you trust them enough to give them an opportunity to have more of a voice in how the government they own operates than they have now...is no more than an insurance policy that will insure that if the legislature fails to work for the benefit of the majority of the voters, than those voters will have a means of doing it for themselves...There is nothing to fear about this bill, unless legislators fear the voters of Alabama."
The people of Alabama have voiced their desire to have a say via the I&R process. In a poll conducted by Pulse Opinion Research for Citizens in Charge from May 26-July 19, 2010 found Alabama citizens supporting a direct say in their government:
- 71% favored I&R
- 11% opposed it
- 18% were not sure
The voters polled spanned age, gender, race, political party, and income brackets. For the 2013 Legislative Session Representative Mike Ball and Senator Dick Brewbaker will be pushing for I&R. They are willing to give the people of Alabama a say. We the People of Alabama must undertake a grassroots campaign to see that we get I&R.
We need accountability, checks and balances, and an insurance policy against both shortsighted and misguided politicians. The citizens of Alabama deserve a voice. Act today to make your stand and demand your Legislators get on board. If they refuse ask them what it is they fear. I&R isn't the cure all for the problems we face as a state. It is a great place to start in the effort to get Alabama on the right track. I&R could be used to protect our Second Amendment rights as well as our other freedoms. I&R could be used to force our Legislators to balance a budget and shrink the size and scope of state government.
Do the research yourself and see what I&R is and how it can help. As they say the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step so let's begin the journey in 2013. Send a message loud and clear to Montgomery now.
The current gun control debate in Alabama could be put to rest by enacting legislation similar to the Hanford Initiative written by Bernadine Smith of The Second Amendment Committee.
HANFORD PRO-GUN LEGISLATION
Sec. 1.5. (a) The strongest reason for the people of California to be armed citizens is to protect themselves against tyranny in government,i and to fulfill the duty of preserving and protecting the republic, the 1791 Bill of Rights, and all constitutionally authorized liberties, and to guarantee the people’s position as being the highest authority in the republic.
(b) The right of the people of California to keep and bear arms, individually and collectively, is an unalienable, inherent, and natural right, acknowledged in the common law, confirmed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, and secured by the Act for the Admission of Californiaii into the Union. The full and necessary exercise, affiliated activity, and benefits of this right are herein reaffirmed, guaranteed, and protected hereby from all infringements whatsoever.
(c) For purposes of clarification, and to prevent misconstruing, this right shall be interpreted so as to coincide and adhere to the reasonings and discourses made in behalf of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America by the nation's founders who authored or otherwise contributed to the formation of that amendment, and so as to conform to the definitions in use at that time.
(d) The intent of this section is to reaffirm, clarify, and protect the right of the people of this State to, but not be limited to, privately own, possess, purchase, manufacture, advertise, sell, lease, loan, transport, or use arms, parts, and ammunition for the defense of person, family, home, property, and liberty; for the defense and safety of the State; and for sport and recreation. This section shall not apply to convicted violent felons, nor to any individual who has been found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be a danger to others as a result of mental disorder or mental illness.
(e) No public official, whether elected or nonelected, in this State or its subdivisions, nor the legislative body, nor any other public body or person outside of this State, shall deny, curtail, prohibit, or tax the right of the people of this State to keep and bear arms; nor enact, nor participate in the execution of, any law which in any style, form, or manner constitutes the registration of the people's firearms or ammunition; nor require the licensing or fingerprinting of law-abiding individuals; nor promote a reduction or restriction in the sale or availability of firearms, their parts, or components, or other related accessories; nor promote a reduction in the quality of ammunition; nor reduce its availability; nor add identification marks to firearms or ammunition; nor limit, prohibit, or regulate capacity, design, or use of magazines or ammunition feeding devices; nor promote diminishment of efficiency by requiring alterations in parts or the application of devices; nor enact laws to modify and render inoperative, arms held as curios or collector's items; nor deny benefits and exercise of future technological advancements; nor take any action to promote, or to engage in, the confiscation of firearms, which includes weapons of defense, well-suited to protect the State and to fend off invasion.
(f) The right to keep and bear arms and ammunition shall not be infringed or revoked by any branch of government, or by any other source whatsoever, by reason of, but not limited to, ordinances or other acts of state or local governments, or any other legislation which subverts the intent of this section. These restraints shall apply also to purported treaties, to enabling legislation or any otherwise federal directive or executive order, and to martial rule.
(g) All constitutional provisions, state laws, local government ordinances, acts, or agreements from any source whatsoever that are inconsistent with this section are inoperative. The provisions of this section shall be self-executing.
(h) This section is in support of the text of the original Constitution of the United States of America and the 1791 Bill of Rights, which sustains already existing fundamental principles of American law. It is the obligation of the State of California and its people to protect and provide for the enforcement of the 1791 Bill of Rights.
(i) If any part of this section is questioned, the questioned part shall remain in full force and effect until such time that it has been finally adjudged to be contrary to the Constitution of the United States of America and the 1791 Bill of Rights, as well as the purposes, reasonings, and discourses of the nation’s founders.
i “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” …..Thomas Jefferson
2 No alterations or additions allowed. This legislation, supported by former State Senator Don Rogers of California, is constructed to be used in any state. Simply remove the word “California” in the first paragraph and substitute the name of your state in its place. --Second Amendment Committee, Bernadine Smith, National Director, author of measure.
iiNote: Without this severability clause (Section (i)), any disrupter could cause this whole measure to be thrown out. Section (i) prevents such devious political maneuvering. “Questioning" of any of its parts will only intensify the integrity of the whole, and bring publicity to the need for enactment of this measure.
Initiative and Referendum is a valuable tool that can aid Alabama conservatives in reclaiming their heritage. What are you waiting for Alabama? Make your voice heard.