An article last week by The Frontier highlights numerous new efforts by Oklahoma legislators to make petition initiatives jump through more hoops to get onto ballots in the form of state questions.
The proposed legislation includes things like requiring more signatures, requiring financial impact statements, extending the time period for legal objections to petitions, requiring a percentage of signatures to come from all five congressional districts or requiring 60 percent approval on state questions.
Lawmakers seem to believe that the ballot initiative allows metro Oklahomans to skip having to get input from rural Oklahomans. But, if all a petition does is get something to the ballot, doesn’t everyone still have the option to weigh in? If a vote goes to the entire state, who exactly is getting skipped?
If an initiative is unpopular, it fails to gather enough signatures. If an initiative is unconstitutional, it is snuffed out by the state Supreme Court. If an initiative doesn’t have enough volunteers or money behind it, it fails.
We’ve seen plenty of petitions fail to get enough support. The threshold seems to be appropriate.
We’ve also seen plenty of state questions that get shot down at the ballot box.
No, this feels more like revenge against what are only slightly progressive initiatives.
On Medicaid expansion, we maintain that’s it’s good for Oklahoma to finally get back some of the money they’ve been paying in, and getting more people insured is going to save money on costlier health problems down the line.
Approving medical marijuana, even in hindsight, seems to have been a money-maker considering, according to reporting from the Norman Transcript, that dispensaries remitted $71.6 million in state and local taxes in 2020.
We want to see the will of the voters upheld. We don’t think it’s right for lawmakers to try and tinker with a petition process that has worked well for the state.