California to Exempt Unions from Ballot Initiative Requirements

Posted: Oct 02, 2013 2:32 PM
California to Exempt Unions from Ballot Initiative Requirements

Not content controlling every statewide elected office and both chambers of the legislature, California Democrats are now moving to cut off conservatives from the ballot as well.

The Washington Post's Reid Wilson reports on a bill passed by the Assembly and Senate that Gov. Jerry Brown may sign this week:

"The measure, Assembly Bill 857, would require 10 percent of signatures for any given ballot initiative to be collected by volunteers, rather than by paid signature gatherers. The number of signatures supporters need to turn in is based on the number of votes in the last gubernatorial election; that means groups would have to rely on volunteers to gather a little more than 50,000 of the 504,760 valid signatures required to get an initiative on the ballot."

For a state constantly plagued by sometimes conflicting ballot measures, AB 857 may sound good at first. Everyone will have a tougher time getting on the ballot. But of course, Democrats added a loophole for their allies:

"But the measure would allow employees or members of nonprofit organizations to be considered volunteers. That provision, the bill’s opponents say, allows unions to count signatures collected by their members as volunteer-collected, giving labor organizations an advantage in qualifying ballot measures."

The tax revolt of the 1980s famously started in California with Prop. 13. If this bill becomes law, it is highly unlikely any such anti-big-government populism will ever come out of California again.