Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why we need I&R and Recall

Senator Phil Poole is one of the main reasons we need Initiative and Referendum (HB279) and Recall (HB393). Just look at Poole's quote in today's Birmingham News.

"The leadership in this body is not going to hold up my local bill. I can guarantee that," Poole said. "We're doing nothing for the next two years until that's either settled or it's (otherwise) satisfied."

So, one bill over a sewer line in Tuscaloosa is going to cause a complete shut down in the Alabama Senate for the next two years? Just like it has for the last two years. See, with recall we (or the citizen's of Tuscaloosa) could yank sewer boy out of the Senate and get things moving again. Sounds like he needs to go back to Kindergarten and learn how to cooperate all over again anyway. Somebody lock him in a room with reruns of Sesame Street. To his credit part of the problem is we have no local home rule in Alabama so even things that pertain to only one area of the state have to pass through the entire House and Senate in Alabama. Poole is still a tool though for shutting down the senate for his bill for the third year in a row. Enough already!

Alabama government is such a, well excuse me for saying so, A CLUSTER FUCK. The people have zero power. If we want anything done we have to beg the members of the house to pass a bill for us. Then we have to beg the Senate to pass a bill for us. Then we have to beg the governor to sign the bill. Very rarely do we get to vote on a statewide referendum. Any statewide referendums have to be added to the ballot by the legislature. With Initiative and Referendum the citizens of Alabama could vote directly on issues at the ballot box.

Take medical marijuana for instance (HB434). While there is a lot of support in the Alabama House and Senate for this bill we will never get it through because of people like Phil Poole log jamming the Senate over his stupid sewer line bill. Even if we did get it through the Senate and on the Governors desk he probably wouldn't sign it, even though his oldest daughter died of cancer. But, 76% of Alabamians support medical marijuana and if, through the I&R process, we were able to get that on the ballot for ALL ALABAMIANS to vote on it would pass.

Here's the problem though. The Alabama Legislature (both houses) like things just the way they are. They like having all the power. Us dumb, redneck citizens well we just ain't smart enough to decide on laws for ourselves according to our governing body (with a few rare exceptions like the sponsors and co-sponsors of the above mentioned bills). The legislature will never pass a bill that reduces the size and scope of its power and allows citizens to vote directly on issues at the ballot box.

So, what do we do? I'm ready to drag the pitch fork back out and head on down to Montgomery myself. My patience ran out long ago. However, that would likely land me in jail because I wouldn't be gentle with my pitchfork.

In light of that I want to encourage everyone who reads this blog to support Initiative and Referendum (HB279) and Recall (HB393).

HB279 Initiative and Referendum and HB393 Recall have been assigned to the Constitution and Elections committee. Here are the email addresses of every member on that committee. You can also go HERE and look up their phone and fax numbers. I recommend calling, faxing, emailing and paying a personal visit to members of this committee and your own members in the House and Senate to demand that they support these bills. If they say no then tell them you are actively recruiting someone to run against them in the 2010 election.,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,

NOTE: The Birmingham News has an excellent editorial on Why Alabamians Deserve to have the Recall Option

1 comment:

Don said...

A majority of the "References" links on Wikipedia's "Initiative and referendum" page are no longer valid. Fortunately, the first two that link to pages on the I&R Institute website are. The I&R Institute is one of the best sources of information about I&R, and I might suggest that you provide a link to its home page on your blog, possibly in a sidebar where it would be available for readers now and in the future who are interested in learning about I&R. The link is I&R Institute. You could refer to the link every time you post anything about I&R.

Now, about the two bills you blogged about on Summary of Action in the AL Legislature, HB279 the Initiative and Referendum Bill and HB393 the Recall Bill.

Personally, I believe a person would have to be an unrealistic dreamer to think our legislature will pass either one unless voters play hardball politics with the two members of the legislature that are supposed to represent them. More about that later.

The I&R bill would be opposed by a majority of legislators and the special interest groups they represent (rather than their constituents) because it would take some of the total power they hold in their hands and give it to the voters of Alabama. People can go on my website and review what happened with Representative Ball's I&R constitutional amendment bill back in 2006 (when for the first time in history an I&R bill reached the floor of either house of our legislature) if they scroll about a third of the way down the page to "A REVIEW OF HB 325, AN INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT". In that portion of the page they can read where the Birmingham News quoted Representative Mike Ball as saying, "Ball said the bill died mainly because powerful lobby groups comfortable with killing or passing bills at the State House disliked the idea of letting voters pass laws that lobbyists couldn't kill in the Legislature. ‘I'm going to keep trying,’ he said. ‘It will not pass until the public demands it.’ Ball said.”

The Recall bill would probably be opposed by even more legislators because it threatens the positions and power of all office holders in the state who don't serve the people they represent in a competent manner, and too many of them don't, as you well know.

PLAYING HARDBALL POLITICS: On my website page "HOW YOU CAN HELP ALABAMA" I outline a plan for playing hardball politics concerning I&R that I believe would work if enough voters followed it. I believe that plan would also work for any piece of legislation, such as the Recall, or Medical Marijuana bills, BUT ONLY IF ENOUGH VOTERS FOLLOWED IT. If you or anyone else can come up with a better plan it should be broadcast far and wide.