COVID-19 Changes the Initiative Landscape

The hard, can’t be waived, constitutional deadline for initiatives is 131 days for the Secretary of State to certify it. (Art. II, Sec. 8(c)) That date is June 25. However, the counties have to tabulate signatures by May 1, although that date CAN be changed as it’s not in the Constitution.

The only ballot measure to qualify is the referendum to change money bail to risk assessment. (SB 10) Three others are eligible based on signatures: repeal of criminal justice reforms, split roll 2018, and expansion of rent control. Those are being held for negotiations with the Legislature and a modified split roll measure is currently in circulation.

There are 22 other measures in circulation. Of these, 8 have reached the 25% signature threshold when they must update their status. It’s pretty clear that the 14 that have not reached 25% have no chance. Of those that have, the stem cell bond effort has reportedly ended its signature campaign.

The other 7 reaching 25% include:

  • split roll 2020
  • medical malpractice (MICRA) cap lift
  • consumer privacy
  • dialysis
  • app-based drivers removal from AB 5
  • plastics reduction
  • sports-wagering from tribes and racetracks

I haven’t totaled up the money spent but it’s big. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, the word was that some groups were paying $5-6 dollars on the street.

It’s too early to say that all of these are dead, as some have June-July deadlines (MICRA, plastics, sports-wagering) when life may have returned to normal. But, no amount of money per signature can collect signatures in this environment. Even those who are shopping are running in and out and avoiding contact with anyone. MICRA will likely not make it, as it has an June 1 deadline. The others might get enough signatures depending on when “stay at home” is lifted but, if qualified, are looking at 2022.

Split roll 2020 is likely dead as its deadline is in two weeks. That raises the question whether they move forward the previously qualified 2018 measure, although 2020 changes moved off some opposition. Further the words “tax” or “bond” now likely won’t be strong in November.

Beyond the disappointment of sponsoring groups, huge consulting and ad buys are mostly off the table for 2020 because our world unpredictably changed in two months.

Scott Lay is publisher of The Nooner

Comments

  1. The Socialists NAZI democratic party wants to change the voting rules and adopt the ones in places like California, Illinois and New York where the voting rules make sure ONLY DEMOCRATES WIN. There are over 1 million people voting in California laws who should not be voting but see that is what keeps demwits in power AND THEY LOVE BEING IN POWER. Nancy wants BALLOT HARVESTING IN EVERY STATE..Right now there are just a handful of states where this is legal and if you guessed ONLY THE BLUE STATES, you would be positively correct…People need to start standing up to these socialists NAZI’S GARBAGE…

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