Fishkin: How to Fix California’s Democracy Crisis

Prof. James Fishkin has an op-ed piece in the New York Times:

One hundred years ago today, California voters added the ballot initiative to the State Constitution, allowing citizens to use petitions to bring proposed statutes and constitutional amendments for a public vote.

In the article Fishkin entwines two themes. On the one hand, according to Fishkin, multiple cycles of legislation via the initiative system have encumbered California with various laws that cannot be overturned by the legislature, and make California “virtually ungovernable”. He cites the two-thirds rule for raising taxes, mandatory funds allocation (40% to education), the “three strikes law” and term limits for legislators. (He also originally cited a two-thirds rule for passing the budget – this reference was removed from the article since last year Proposition 25 eliminated this rule in favor of passage by regular majority.)

The other theme is the troubles with the Proposition system itself – supposedly the cause for the passage of the problematic laws.
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