There are multiple bills this legislative session from Republicans who want to cripple Maine’s citizen initiative petition process under the guise of democracy and fairness. One of the worst is L.D. 883, which is sponsored by Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton, and which would require that paid signature gatherers get a minimum of $25 per signature. Saviello disingenuously stated during the hearing that his reason for the bill is to ensure that signature gatherers are paid fairly. What a joke.
Any bill that would make the citizen initiative process more difficult or expensive would be anti-democracy. It would likely prevent all but the best-funded out-of-state groups from gathering enough valid signatures to get on the ballot.
Maine’s citizen initiative process has been in the Constitution for more than century. It works far better than our corrupt government, and unlike the government, it is not subject to paid lobbying and political pressure. As voters, we are free to sign or not to sign and we are free to vote as we wish in private.
Before the Legislature goes meddling in the people’s business, it should first clean up its own act.