September 22, 2019

Removing Citizens’ Ballot Initiative For Wildlife Management is Not Wrong

The Bangor Daily News editorial staff made some good and sound points about alternatives to changing the process involved with gathering signatures and getting a proposal put onto the ballot for voters to decide. However, the staff made two statements that I think need clearing up and providing a better and more accurate explanation.

To be forthcoming, I have stated in the past that I hold some reluctance in a flat removal of the right of citizens to petition the state and the referendum process. In this article, it makes reference to a proposed bill, LD1228, that would amend the signature gathering process for ballot initiatives. I haven’t finished a thorough examination of this proposal, but on the surface it appears to be a sound proposal.

However, I do think there are instances in which an exemption from the ballot initiative process may be necessary. The Bangor Daily News states: “…taking away the citizen initiative when it comes to hunting and fishing laws, or any other area of law, is wrong.” I do not agree. “Any other area of law,” is not specific to hunting and fishing laws, which, in and of itself, is an inaccurate labeling of what bill proposals that exist are attempting to do.

Hunting and fishing laws, i.e. rules, are set by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). The Legislature can amend those laws/rules and/or force the department to do things it might not think is in the best interest of wildlife management. In the existing format, there are many opportunities for Maine voters to participate in the rule-making process. This is the same throughout all law making proposals, with or without the referendum process.

In my mind, this really isn’t the issue. The issue is that wildlife management, including fish and game management, is a scientific process and should be a scientific process driven by goals set and established as a complimentary effort between the wildlife department and voters. Science should be the determining factor. It is my opinion that when MDIFW began putting too much emphasis on what social impacts their scientific decisions had, proper and responsible wildlife management took a back seat to social pressures, many coming from special interest groups. This result is far worse than any perceived fallout from eliminating a ballot initiative.

For this reason, we may be looking at a terrific example of why an exemption from the petitioning of the state government to change it’s wildlife management plans, should be seriously and honestly considered.

The second issue is directly connected to the first. The Bangor Daily News called a potential law to limit ballot initiatives on issues pertaining to fish and wildlife management as “draconian.” When this issue is viewed from a totalitarian perspective of forcing lifestyles onto others, I can understand why the newspaper, with their history, would consider this exemption as draconian. It appears the newspaper’s importance is weighted toward socialistic issues rather than science.

I hate laws in general because all laws limit and steal away my rights and my God-given right to self-determination. Playing within the rules, what is good for the goose is most often good for the gander.

And just one more thing. The editorial states that, “Twenty-four states allow citizen-generated initiatives on the ballot.” Why didn’t the report state that 26 do not? More than half do not provide for citizen-generated initiatives. Clearly there are other means of ensuring that all citizens can be heard, or made to think they are heard, other than the current and very expensive process Maine now has.

Changes in this process should be forthcoming.

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A Bill To Prevent Non Residents Collection of Petition Signatures

For all of you who expressed concern about HSUS trying again. We have been working very hard to see it NEVER happens again. Please share this message from David Trahan and this report he penned everywhere you can. Follow the link, print it, send it to everyone you know, and let’s never be victimized again, by those with agendas and huge expense accounts from other states.
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SAM ALERT
Important SAM Bill Coming Up for Public Hearing

LD 176, An Act To Amend the Law Governing the Gathering of Signatures for Direct Initiatives and People’s Veto Referenda

Veterans and Legal Affairs
Feb 25, 2015, 10:00a State House, Room 437

LD 176 is a SAM bill to address the serious abuse of our petition gathering process by the Washington D.C. based Humane Society of the United States. This bill will stop non-residents from violating our State Constitution’s ban on the use of non-residents to collect signatures during Maine referendums. Below are excerpts from an expose written by SAM Executive Director detailing the abuse. Please forward to as many people as possible and come to the hearing if possible. To read the whole expose, go to: http://www.sportsmansallianceofmaine.info/…/HSUS_Exposed_Fi…

BILL SUMMARY

This bill prohibits persons who are not residents of the State from collecting signatures on a petition for the direct initiative of legislation or a people’s veto referendum and from handling such a petition in any manner. The bill permits persons who are not residents to provide others with information about a petition. The bill requires a person employed by a petition organization to register with the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices and to disclose to the commission information regarding the person’s place of residence, employment history, compensation, +number of signatures gathered in a month and petitions circulated and to wear an identification badge when collecting signatures. The bill requires a petition organization to post a $2,000 bond on a circulator receiving over $2,500 in compensation. The bill makes a violation of any of these provisions a Class E crime.

HSUS Expose Excerpts

“Yet, fully two-thirds (2/3) of the signatures approved for the bear referendum, and probably thousands more, were bought and paid for by PCI Consulting, a professional petition signature collection firm from California.”

Some interesting facts:

“According to Maine Ethics Commission reports, on November 30, 2013, HSUS kicked off their Maine bear referendum petition signature-gathering efforts by reporting a $50,000 check paid for “signature gathering support”.”

“Total paid for signature gathering management – $228,574.00.”

PCI Consulting and HSUS

“PCI Consulting is a professional petition signature collection firm, with a long history of referendum campaigns all over the United States, and with a wide array of wealthy, politically connected clients, ranging from the likes of anti-gun rights billionaire George Soros to organizations advocating the legalization of marijuana. PCI Consulting has worked extensively with HSUS for more than a decade, collecting and managing signature-gathering efforts on other state ballot initiatives.”

Who did PCI Consulting and HSUS hire to collect petition signatures in Maine?

“According to documents supplied by the Secretary of State, and Internet ads paid for by PCI Consulting contractors, PCI and HSUS paid for the signature collection services of several separate groups,”

The Lewiston Team

“Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting and PCI Consulting hired Auburn resident John Michael, a 7-term, ex-State Legislator, to manage the hiring and daily operations of paid signature collectors.”

The Green Party Connection

“State Representative Ben Chipman, Green Party, Portland, is also a professional signature collector and campaign organizer who was deeply involved the effort to collect bear referendum signatures. Chipman collected signatures, and acted as a Notary for petitions. In what can only be described as a potential conflict of interest, he also served in the Legislature when the referendum bill was heard.”

Why did HSUS hire professional out-of-state petitioners?

“Because the bear referendum was not a home grown effort. It was concocted completely in Washington D.C, by HSUS.”

Who Is Blake?

“There is a common name and phone number in the HSUS and Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting ads that solicit non-resident petitioners. That name is Blake, which is his first name; he does not reveal his last name. Using his cell phone number and information collected from the Internet, he can be connected to referendums in Utah (ballot access), and Washington State (universal gun sales background checks). He appears to be a contractor or middleman for PCI Consulting.”

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To Gather Signatures to End Bear Hunting, Lying Is Okay

According to Matt Dunlap, Maine’s Secretary of State, for those around Maine seeking signatures to put a referendum on the November ballot, it’s okay to lie and mislead people as to what they are signing. He says they are protected by “Buyer beware and freedom of speech.”

The video below was taken at an undisclosed site where a person is attempting to gather signatures for the Humane Society of the United States, in order to place a referendum on Maine’s November ballot. This is 8 minutes of lies and yet, evidently, it’s legal to say these things in order to get a signature. According to Dunlap, the only stipulation is that a copy of the proposed law has to be attached to the petition. Therefore, it is up to the potential signer to read the proposed law. Make sure you know what you are signing.

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