Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Amendment Updates

Radio silence today because I spent most of it in Columbus for work. I leaned a bunch of interesting stuff I can’t share and some mundane stuff I can.

So far the AWNN is moving along the pipeline apace. The AG has signed off on the petition language and sent it off to the Ballot Board who will decide whether it can go forward as one proposed amendment or if it must be divided. The Board currently consists of:

Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner
Sen. Randy Gardner
Rep. John Husted
Sen. Ray Miller
William Morgan (citizen member)

By statute, the board shall:

    Examine, within ten days after its receipt, each written initiative petition . . . to determine whether it contains only one proposed law or constitutional amendment so as to enable the voters to vote on a proposal separately. . . If the board determines that the initiative petition contains more than one proposed law or constitutional amendment, the board shall divide the initiative petition into individual petitions containing only one proposed law or constitutional amendment so as to enable the voters to vote on each proposal separately.
    (R.C. § 3505.062, if you are in to such things)
Meanwhile, a couple of interesting items you can check out while waiting, breathlessly I'm sure, for my next amendment post. Michael Douglas wrote a piece in the ABJ Sunday hitting most of the right notes. He got hold of a Bill Phillis email I saw last week as well and used it as a springboard for arguing that school funding reform must by necessity come out of the political process.

The video of the rollout press conference is up, but not on the Getting It Right website. Instead you can find it on the website of Ohio School Boards Association which aggressively frontpages the effort. The best part is last where lead speaker Jim Betts answers about a thousand reporter questions about separation of powers.

Finally, I note a couple of lessons this effort could learn from the Minimum Wage campaign. As I noted in my Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah post about RootsCamp, I attended a session by Anna Landmark who managed the campaign. Two bits of information from her presentation jumped out, mostly to verify conventional wisdom.

First, she said that the campaign just barely scraped together enough signatures to get on the ballot. This despite starting collection before the Nov. ’05 election (I collected signatures at polls as I was doing visibility for RON.) Also, despite having enthusiastic support from union workers and progressive activists, loads of volunteer collectors and some paid gatherers. If you sit all the way through the press conference video, you will hear Betts say that the campaign doesn’t plan to use paid solicitors for the signature phase. We’ll see.

The other datum of interest was the poll numbers. At the beginning of the campaign, the idea of raising the minimum wage polled in the seventies. By the end, the issue passed with 56% of the vote. And this in a Democratic year.

Conventional wisdom says that in the course of a ballot issue campaign, support goes steadily down. Voters are inherently cautious. A voter may find ten, twenty, thirty reasons of vote against a ballot issue and the voter needs only one reason to vote no. Once a “No” campaign starts, the opposition will pick apart the bill and tease out those details that make voters uncomfortable. Like creating two entirely new boards that exist to write reports. Or giving near-total authority to the State School Board. Or including a sixty word sentence that means nothing.

Proponents have a long, long way to go on this thing.


Anonymous said...

No paid signature gatherers? They are insane.