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Governor Jerry Brown on Monday vetoed SB 168, which would have placed a ban on pay-per-signature petitioners. In recent months the bill had passed both the Senate and Assembly with greater than 60% support each time.

The bill would have made it a misdemeanor to pay someone or accept pay or other items of value based on the number of signatures gathered on a petition. It would have applied to all paid signature gatherers, whether working on local or statewide referendums, initiatives, or recall actions.

Those in favor of the bill argued that payment on a per-signature basis was an open invitation for paid petitioners to commit fraud, preferring instead that they be paid a flat hourly wage.

Critics argue that wage-based petitioners were costlier, and would thus restrict ballot access to activist groups with less funding. And in an editorial pushing for a veto, the Sacramento Bee dismissed the fraud potential, noting that since 1994 there had only been 46 prosecutions and 33 convictions for crimes related to signature gathering. “An average of three prosecutions yearly hardly seems like a crime spree,” their editorial board noted.

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Comments

monaghan Aug. 3, 2011 @ 12:33 p.m.

California needs to get rid of the Initiative Process which has been entirely subverted by Big Money from every quarter -- Business, Labor, Big Oil, you name it.

Whether or not signature gatherers are paid by the valid signature or by day-wages is not the point: the entire process is now corrupt. Initiative measures that do make it to the ballot have not been vetted in any way by any responsible legislative body and, funded by expensive campaigns, often result in skewed law.

The Initiative was a progressive idea meant to empower the people back at the turn of the 20th century: today it is a tool of rich special interests to make an end-run around proper law-making by elected representatives.

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SanDiegoParrothead Aug. 4, 2011 @ 1:30 p.m.

Guess gov't is getting nervous...

Since they couldn't win this way, they're trying another. Have you heard the radio commercial saying that signing petitions WILL put you at identity theft risk?

What a bunch of garbage, especially since is paid for by labor unions.

They're getting worried that their free ride is up...and hopefully it is!

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