So, to start the process, my colleague Omar Figueroa and I drafted a letter to our state Legislative Counsel asking them to help us draft an initiative according to certain overarching principles that Omar and I and a few of our colleagues identified (and that I’ll discuss in greater detail in a subsequent post). To read the letter and our request, please check out the attached PDF copy of the letter. Why did we ask the Legislative Counsel to help us write it? Well, in what I presume to be an effort to make government more accessible to the common person, our state law says our Legislative Counsel must draft an initiative for anyone who asks them to, provided the request is (1) supported by 25 elector signatures and (2) there is a reasonable probability that the initiative will be submitted to the voters. See Cal. Government Code § 10243. The process is called the Legislative Counsel Voter Initiative Process. A mouthful, huh? The really cool thing about this process is that this is the same way the Compassionate Use Act was drafted back in the day (it was enacted in 1996, so I’m guessing it was submitted to the Legislative Counsel likely the year or 2 before that). That means we’re treading on historical ground here, using the same process Peron and the other CUA originators used, which to me makes the process more special.
We easily got the necessary 25 signatures, most from our fellow activists at the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa, CA on December 14, 2013 (a GREAT event, btw), others mailed in their signatures, and then I got many more at an ASA meeting here in Nevada County (where the ASA group is vibrant!). And viola! Omar and I submitted the letter and signatures to the Legislative Counsel in the Capitol Building in Sacramento last week and the process began. The best part of filing it was taking my son into the rooms for the state Assembly and Senate, to see where our state’s legislative action happens. It was exciting. I’m surprised how many people don’t know how the federal legislature works, much less so the state, and I often send out the Schoolhouse Rocks videos to anyone who will watch. Those videos are gems of knowledge. No joke. I digress…
Quickly after we filed the letter, Omar got a call from the Legislative Counsel attorney who was assigned to our initiative request. The attorney expressed excitement about writing the initiative, which is so cool! He indicated that he was slammed with work because of the state Legislature’s deadlines for this 2014 session & so he was grateful that we are looking towards the 2016 election, so he can start work on it in a few weeks. We know more about his response to our requests sometime in March, I imagine, but for now we can be sure that we met their basic requirements under the Government Code and that this is happening! For now, read the attached letter and keep a lookout for more on this soon.
Legislative Counsel letter here:
In closing, my musical meditation for this post is from the great Mos Def, who says:
“We are alive in amazing times
delicate hearts, diabolical minds
revelations, hatred, love and war.
and more and more and more and more
and more of less than ever before
it’s just too much more for your mind to absorb
It’s scary like hell, but there’s no doubt
we can’t be alive in no time but… NOW!!!”