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CWA of Maine Opposes LD 1730 – An Act to Strengthen the Ballot Initiative Process

By February 10, 2010Maine
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Statement by
Penny A. Morrell, Area Director South
Concerned Women for America of Maine

To Members of the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee

Regarding LD 1730, “An Act To Strengthen the Ballot Initiative Process”

February 8, 2010

Concerned Women For America of Maine opposes LD 1730 for the same reasons it rejects LD 1690 and 1692. However, LD 1730, in addition to the requirements in LD 1690 and LD 1692, adds:

A person who will receive or provide compensation for supervising, managing or otherwise organizing an effort to obtain signatures for an initiative or referendum petition shall register with the Secretary of State before any signatures are obtained for the petition, with the form and content of the registration to be determined by the Secretary of State.

In addition, a person who violates subsection 1 or 2 commits a Class E crime for which the penalty must include a fine of $1,000. If the violation is committed by an organization, the penalty must include a fine of $10,000. A penalty under this subsection may not be suspended. All fines imposed for a violation of this section must be paid to the Maine Clean Election Fund established in section 1124.

The very idea of making a criminal out of anyone or any entity petitioning our government is questionable at least, and unconscionable. The Maine Legislature, our governing body, is obligated to listen to its constituents in order to represent them. The fact that it acts in direct opposition to those it serves is wrong. To further deny or even squelch citizen access to that governing body does not reflect the representative form of government we have established in Maine.

We urge this committee to reject LD 1730.