To: Claude Richards,
Subject: -empty-
Date: Fri Mar 08 04:13:26 MST 2013
SB 265 and SB 66 seek to limit the voice of the voters.

The time limit for citizens to gather signatures is shortened from 45 days to 30 days. After the time period begins to run, the attorney must draft the petition language and deliver it to the citizens. There is nothing to limit how long the attorney can take. Thus the citizens could easily be left with 15 - 20 days to gather signatures.

Objections to referenda and responses:

1. Some legislators have indicated that they don't like "legislation by referendum."
Response: Considering how often referendum happens vs. the total number of laws passed by the various jurisdictions, the occasional referendum cannot be said to be legislation by referendum. It is important for the citizens to be able to check the actions of their legislators in isolated and extreme instances. That is why the option is granted in the Utah Constitution, Art. VI, Section 1.

2. This is a republic. You elected these people. Let them do their job. If you don't like what they do, vote them out.
Response: If we are to let them govern without further supervision, why do we hold public hearings and Truth-in-Taxation hearings. Clearly the election of the person is not intended to be the last input from the voters.
Second: Even though we may vote them out, the debts they incur may last long past their terms. The citizens need a check on their elected officials more frequently than every four years.

3. There is potential to pit one side of town against another.
Response: The referendum does not change the law. All it does is give the citizens an opportunity to vote on whether they want that law or not. All sides of town participate in that vote.

4. The referendum process is too easy.
Response: Anyone who thinks this has never done a referendum. It is a boots on the ground activity that requires many people to be involved. The fact that a referendum succeeds should indicate to the elected officials that there is significant concern among the citizens. Under the present laws, some referenda succeed and some do not -- indicating that the bar is set about right.

The joint function of SB 66 and SB 265 serves to eliminate the citizens' ability to check their elected officials. Please do not take that tool from us. We don't use it lightly.

Please defeat these two bills. Thank you.

Claude Richards
"Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. Government is force; like fire it is a dangerous servant -- and a fearful master.”
—George Washington