November 14, 2018

Maine: LD 31 has been brought back from the dead today

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SAM ILA — LEGISLATIVE ALERT 

Attention! Attention! Attention!

LD 31 has been brought back from the dead today – Call Your Legislator!

The SAM ILA’s Bill, LD 31, RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Require That Signatures on a Direct Initiative of Legislation Come from Each Congressional District is back from the dead and could be re-voted today and tomorrow in the House and the Senate.

Democrats have offered to support LD 31 as a way to kick start negotiations and end the Legislative stalemate that is gripping Augusta.  The deal would be to place the important ballot access fairness Resolution on the 2019 fall ballot.  Finally, a chance for the “other Maine” to have a say in what appears on the ballot as an initiative.  Help us stop special interests and their money from monopolizing southern populated areas to push their agendas and divide our state into the haves and have nots!

The House Republicans have supported us time and time again in our fight to bring fairness to the initiative process!  Ask them to do it one more time by joining Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans as well as House Democrats in making LD 31 a priority in any deal to end the stalemate.

Your support is needed ASAP as time is running out!  Ask your Representative to support LD 31 as key part of a final leadership compromise that brings northern and southern Maine together.

This bill would finally bring fairness to rural and suburban Maine by giving them a voice in what appears on the ballot. If this is approved, Maine would become the 13th state of 24 states with a referendum system to adopt such a voter fairness law.

Click here to contact House members and ask them to support LD 31 as part of the leadership compromise.

Below is a little history about LD 31:

Our organization has introduced this important Constitutional change as a way to bring fairness to rural and suburban areas of Maine that are generally ignored when organizations are collecting signatures for Citizen Initiated petitions.  In nearly every campaign, mostly paid signature collectors, funded from out of state, are targeting heavily populated areas in the First Congressional District.  Simply put, it is all about the money, the more people, the more profit. 

Petition signatures are valuable, hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent with companies and special interests to buy their way onto the ballot and their job is easier when their campaigns can concentrate their efforts in and around cities like Portland.  This may seem okay when you live in Portland and the surrounding area, but, it is blatantly unfair for the remainder of the state.  Why? You ask. Because some initiatives originating in heavily populated areas can disproportionately and negatively affect rural areas that feel powerless in the qualifying process. 

For instance, over 80 percent of the signatures to put the bear referendum question on the ballot came from the First Congressional District, yet virtually no one in that area would have been affected by its passage.  Half the states, around the nation that have referendum systems, (24) have adopted geographical distribution policies, (12) like the one proposed in LD 31 to help bring ballot access fairness to the people living in rural and suburban areas.

The Federal Ninth Circuit Court ruled that this policy is fair and reasonable, http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2012/03/14/10-16707.pdf

NCSL Report-Geographical Requirements

http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/signature-requirements.aspx#Geo

I encourage you to read the Appeals Court ruling at the above link, it is very enlightening and should help answer any questions or doubts you may have about supporting this policy change.

There are some organizations that are opposed to this change, I understand they use the referendum system to promote their organization’s agenda and it is easier to leave the status quo.  I find their opposition stunningly hypocritical.  Your vote on this bill is not to adopt this proposed change, but to allow Maine people an opportunity to vote on the issue.

The opposition argument is: we want Maine people to have the ability to vote on the referendum questions of our choosing, but, we don’t want them to have an opportunity to vote on a policy that makes that system fair for all Mainers.  Do they trust Maine people to do the right thing or not?

I encourage you to read this important Appeals Court ruling, LD 31 is fair and reasonable and I hope you will support allowing Maine people to hear the debate and make up their own mind.

Click here to contact House members and ask them to support LD 31 as part of the leadership compromise.

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