Initiatives - State of California

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The process of creating and passing initiatives in California is designed to delegate the law-making power to people and allows voters to collect signatures. However, they can also change the state constitution only if they act in organized groups. The paper will give a comprehensive analysis of the process of creating an initiative in California and determine whether the process should continue as it currently functions.

The process of creating and passing initiatives begins by writing the text of the draft, which is a proposed law. Afterwards, it is submitted to the Attorney General of California to obtain an official title and summary. Subsequently, initiative petitions are circulated in the quest of obtaining sufficient signatures from registered voters. Signatures are submitted to election officials for verification, and it determines whether the initiative is a success or a failure. The initiative process culminates in the approval of qualified ballot initiatives. It is orchestrated by Californian voters. There has also been a notable trend, whereby residents of California turn to the initiative process in making public policies. However, an increase in the frequency of initiatives also raises the amount of financial resources spent on campaigns.


The initiative process should not be continued as it currently functions because minor adjustments can be done to improve the system and increase its efficacy. Therefore, the process needs reforms that encapsulate a better review of errors that may pave a way for unintended ramifications. For instance, the process can be improved through a legislative partnership, which adds a deliberative component to it. For example, there ought to be an improved form of an indirect initiative, which presupposes negotiations with the legislature in the quest of finding an appropriate compromise. The initiative process can also be improved through the deployment of state agencies that review and draft the ballot title to pinpoint the main effect of every initiative. Moreover, agencies should also be responsible for ensuring that the ballot title is precise and unbiased. Other adjustments include giving supporters a chance to retract an initiative notwithstanding its ballot qualification. Moreover, the voting threshold ought to be reviewed and changed accordingly. However, even with changes in the initiative, it is imperative to acknowledge that voters vote based on the general ideology and not precise details of the law. Moreover, California is the only state that denies the legislature the prerogative of repealing statutory initiatives that are approved by the state.

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In California, initiatives work through a ballot proposition, whereby citizens are expected to vote. People can also approve or reject an existing law through a popular vote. An initiative can be either a statutory amendment or a constitutional one. The difference between the two is that the former may require fewer signatures prior to being placed on the future ballot, where it can be passed through a majority vote. At the moment, the on-going initiative is "Death Penalty. Initiative Statute." It aims at replacing the maximum punishment for a murder with life in prison. The statute will be applicable retroactively to those already facing death sentences. Other on-going initiatives are Voter Empowerment and Legislature Transparency Amendments.

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In conclusion, initiatives allow citizens to put forward propositions pursuant to a certain protocol in writing the text of the initiative draft. However, they will not proceed to the ballot if they fail to gather the appropriate number of signatures at the circulation stage. The signature deadline depends on when the Attorney General of California will issue a ballot title, as well as a summary of the proposal. However, in California, this process requires such improvements as focus on an indirect initiative, work of state agencies, possibility of retracting an initiative, and the review of the voting threshold.

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