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Could you comment before I send this to my Congressman?

P

press

I live in a state that doesn't give the citizens the powers of initiative and referendum. I also notice that the United States Constitutions doesn't do that either. Therefore, I was considering sending to my Congressman an idea for a constitutional amendment that reads:

1. All governments in the United States shall honor the citizens' unalienable powers of initiative and referendum, in all cases whatsoever, in such a uniform manner as the Congress shall by law regulate, and no law or constitutional amendment adopted or rejected through such powers shall be reenacted or repealled except by the people by initiative or referendum or by the judicial authority of such government. The legislative body may advise their constituents on a vote, but shall not obligate the same.

2. This amendment shall be ratified by special convention.

I threw in the special convention clause because I don't think the legislatures will very readily adobt such an amendment that will lessen their power.

In case you're wondering (and I'm not pointing out names), initiative is the people's power to propose laws and amendments by petition and to ratify the same by ballot. Referendum, on the reverse side, is the power to nullify a controversial law or amendment by petition and then ballot. Since I put in the "only people can change it" clause, this prevents Congress/legislature or President/Governor from limiting the people's power too severely. Only the Supreme Court can nullify a law passed by initiative, and can't even consider reenacting a law abolished by referendum.

I was going to send this to my Congressman and not blink twice, but then I remembered that I am often wrong, so I thought I'd get a second opinion first. I think this would be a great idea, since it would greatly compliment the "We the People" prhase that we know and love. But, like I said before, I'm often stupid when it comes to politics, so I'm coming to you. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 
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Donkey1499

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That's all good and everything. But what about the radicals that want to create some retarded law? They could easily get a petition going and somehow get enough ppl to sign it. But overall, what you're trying to do is good. Just get more opinions than mine, ok?
 
P

press

Donkey1499 said:
That's all good and everything. But what about the radicals that want to create some retarded law? They could easily get a petition going and somehow get enough ppl to sign it. But overall, what you're trying to do is good. Just get more opinions than mine, ok?
You have an intresting argument, but keep in mind that the people can always change their bad decisions by performing referendum on a rougue initiative law, and even if the law is popular, the Supreme Court of the state or nation can always declare an initiative law unconsitutional just like they can a statute or executive order. The bill of rights would not be forfited in the slightest, and if a majority continues to support a "retarted law," then let their stupidity get the best of them. We can always move to another state.

EDIT: Besides, if the so called "radicals" can get enough people to sign a petition, they can always get the legislature to pass it, with or without initiative, because of the influence of politics and the threat of loosing reelection. These radicals like you describe have always been a problem, so initiative and referendum are not going to create it.
 
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Old and wise

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press said:
I live in a state that doesn't give the citizens the powers of initiative and referendum.
Same here. I live in a real Neanderthal State where the Government thinks they are always right, no matter what. And there is not a damn thing any of the residents can do about it.

I used to live in Maine where the citizen petition process is in their Constitution and it works wonders there. Keeps Government on their toes.
Also, every bond issue that that Maine wants to float has to be approved by the residents in an election. That is what I call Democracy.

I wish you luck but I don't think you will have much success since the Feds and the corporations that control the Government don't want to give up any of their power to the people.
 

Kandahar

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Seems like a very good amendment, at least on the state level. I'm all for giving people more of a voice and promoting democracy, and this amendment would do that admirably well. States are large enough to promote real change through their laws, yet small enough that the people can have an impact.

I'm not sure it would work as well on the federal level. It's not that it's a bad idea...it's just that it would be extremely difficult to get an initiative/referendum on the ballot nationwide, and if it passed it would be equally difficult to get rid of it. A sizable minority of people actually favored a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning and a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. If people are willing to mess with the constitution for non-issues like these, I shudder to think what kind of knee-jerk laws might get passed via initiative at the federal level. But maybe I'm just being paranoid; it seems to work quite well at the state level.
 

Donkey1499

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In Pinellas County, FL, there is a way to get petitions going to get laws passed. But even if one gets all the signatures that are required, it doesn't always mean that the gov't will accept it or even look at it. Which is completely bogus. What is so wrong with the gov't that it doesn't want to share power?
 
P

press

so what you guys are saying is that I should send this to my Congressman? I may not get it passed, but my Congressman is a democrat, not to mention he is more worried about reelection than he is getting all the power he can. I know that it would be hard on the federal level, but that's probably why it would work, because it would only be used in the most extreme circumstances.

If you like it so much, why don't you send it to your Congressman? One person is less likely to make such a difference than a mob of people.
 
P

press

Donkey1499 said:
In Pinellas County, FL, there is a way to get petitions going to get laws passed. But even if one gets all the signatures that are required, it doesn't always mean that the gov't will accept it or even look at it. Which is completely bogus. What is so wrong with the gov't that it doesn't want to share power?
I forgot to address this message.

With my amendment, the state would HAVE to put it on ballot because the Supreme Court will make them if they don't. That's what initiative and referendum is all about: Bypassing the legislature.
 

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I read this, and I came up with what I consider to be a better ruff draft. Take a look. You might like it, press.



Section 1
All governments within the United States shall honor the people's powers of initiative and referendum, in such a uniform manner as the Congress shall be law direct, and no body of government shall interfere with referendum, nor with initiative except a three-fourths vote in both houses of the legislative branch thereof or by the judicial branch in cases involving laws in conflict with this or any constitution.

Section 2
The powers of initiative and referendum shall not be used
1. For laws involving the revenue of the government involved.
2. To amend, in any way, the provisions of this article.
3. To amend, in any way, the first ten amendments to this constitution.
4. To amend, in any way, the eighth section of the first article of this constitution.
5. To deny sufferage to any citizen granted sufferage in any part of this constitution.
6. To deny any citizen equal protection of the laws.
7. To amend the Congress's laws directing the procedure of initiative and referendum.

Section 3
Congress shall have the power to amend this article by following the amendment procedure provided in the fifth article of this constitution, and such amendments shall be imune from initiative andreferendum.

Section 4.
This article shall be inactive unless it shall have been ratified by three fourths of the several states in special convention assembled.

Section two pevents the uneducated people from doing anything rogue, such as abolishing taxes (some people will try to do that, believe it or not), and the three-fourths clause allows the government to overturn the dumbasses as a last resort. I also worded the ratification clause in the same way as is traditionally worded.

So whaddaya think press?
 
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