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Oklahoma Lawmakers Are Tinkering With Citizen Petition Initiatives Again

Although some of their more radical proposals seem to have stalled (for now), Oklahoma lawmakers are still tinkering with the citizen initiative petition process, and trying to make it more cumbersome for Oklahoma voters to overcome the incompetence of their lawmakers.

Here are details from The Oklahoman_:

House Republicans on Tuesday passed House Bill 1767 to require petitions that would increase the costs of any state government entity include a “clear statement” that additional state funding will be required to carry out the state question.

“The motivation (is) to make sure that the voters are fully informed about the potential cost not just for one year, but for ongoing years,” said Rep. Eric Roberts, R-Oklahoma City.

The freshman legislator said the bill stems from concerns he heard from voters, who said they didn’t fully understand the costs associated with State Question 802 that Oklahoma voters narrowly passed last year.

Oh, come on! Are we really supposed to believe someone who isn't a Republican plant, or wasn't already against SQ 802, genuinely complained about that? That's about as believable as Eric Roberts – a pro-life Republican – not remembering whether or not he paid for his mistress to get an abortion!

Yeah, remember when we reported that exclusive story during the ice storm hell of October? Naturally, the rest of the local media ignored it. We talked to Roberts' old girlfriend – and her friend that got the abortion that he paid for – on record. They definitely remembered.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. It seems to me that if we're going to include special language that notes if a state question will require additional state funding (which is a partisan distortion of what SQ 802 does), we should also note if the proposal is going to bring in additional money. One of the saner State Reps in the legislature agrees:

Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City, criticized the bill as poorly written because it didn't specify who provides the fiscal statement. Citing the tax revenue earned from legalizing medical marijuana through State Question 788, Fugate questioned why lawmakers aren't asking petition campaigns to detail the state revenue that could be gained through a proposed state question.

“This is a thinly veiled attempt to limit the initiative petition rights that are constitutionally reserved to the people,” he said.

Not only is this a thinly veiled attempt to limit initiative petition rights, but it's also hypocritical:
If HB 1767 becomes law, the bill could cost the State Election Board roughly $500,000.
Anyway, you can read more about this bill, and other attempts by our legislature to circumnavigate the will of the Oklahoma people, over at The Oklahoman_.

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