Paul Jacob

Eyman points out there were only two citizen-initiated measures on the ballot last year, one initiative and one referendum, while “in the last legislative session, Governor Gregoire signed 583 bills into law, the most ever in one session.”

No, what is happening in Washington state’s legislature is a blatant attack against citizens . . . well, against citizens having any power or influence in their government.

Governor Christine Gregoire recently suggested that if folks like Eyman wanted influence in the legislature they should “come on down and run for election.” Otherwise, Gregoire said, “leave it to us.”

The arrogance is palpable. The danger to basic democratic control over government gone wild is serious. And it is certainly not limited to the Evergreen State. Last week, I detailed the relentless and false attacks on California’s initiative process from politicians and special interests. Legislators in Missouri and Nebraska have introduced legislation — now pending — to jack up the number of required petition signatures by as much as double.

Citizens in Charge Foundation has just released a national report card detailing the initiative and referendum rights of citizens in all 50 states. Sadly, most states received a failing grade of D or F. Usually this was because the state lacked any statewide initiative process. But even many of the 24 states with statewide initiative failed because of restrictions legislators have placed on petitioning.

As people are getting more frightened by the political direction of our country, they are getting more engaged. They will discover two truths:

    • the initiative is a critical vehicle for reform, and
    • most of our alleged public servants don’t want us to do any driving.

Isn’t it time we had people representing us who were willing to allow us a role in our own government — that is, one bigger than merely voting for them and then butting out?

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.