State Senate OKs measure allowing voter initiatives to be withdrawn

California Senate approves bill allowing proponents of voter initiatives to withdraw them

The state Senate on Thursday approved a measure that would allow proponents of initiatives to withhold them from the ballot if the Legislature agrees to a compromise effort to address the issue.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) introduced the bill as a means to avoid costly and unnecessary initiative campaigns when the Legislature can agree to resolve the grievance.

“It simply says that there ought to be an opportunity for coordination and cooperation between initiative sponsors and proponents and the people who get elected to make decisions on behalf of the people of California,” Steinberg said.

However, some Republicans saw the bill as an effort to stymie citizen initiative movements, noting that it would require that while signatures are being gathered, lawmakers would hold hearings that could be used to convince people not to sign petitions.

“This is a dampening of the initiative process,” said Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber).

Senate Republican leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar voted for SB  1253, but eight other Republicans voted against it. The 29-8 vote sends the measure to the Assembly for consideration.

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