Here in Colorado, since 1994, ballot initiatives notably gave us the country's first -along with Washington state- legalized marijuana (Amendment 64), the country's strongest ban on lobbyists giving politicians "gifts" (41), the country's first Renewable Energy Mandate (37), campaign finance reform (27), increased K-12 funding (23), Background Checks for buyers at Gun Shows (22), Medical Marijuana (20), cleaner hog farms (14) and Term Limits (12).
Media, not just in Colorado, have focused on the few problematic
ballot initiatives like Colorado's 1992 Taxpayer Bill of Rights Amendment 1, which voters gave a 5 year time out in 2005, by voting for Referendum C.
Rather than act to finally fix TABOR, the Colorado Legislature keeps
trying to make the initiative process harder, including with 2008's
defeated Referendum O. This would make the process even more expensive for regular people, without inconveniencing wealthy users of the ballot initiative process.
Oregon has instead improved its ballot initiative process with Citizen Initiative Review. By having randomly-selected "citizen juries" deliberate each initiative, problems like TABOR's "racheting down provision," hidden in its back pages unnoticed, would have been exposed before we voted on it.
The initiative & referendum process is the origin of most
reforms, from women's suffrage to sunshine laws to medical marijuana to
term limits. See Vote.org/initiatives for references and more examples.
We call on the Colorado Legislature
to improve the initiative process, starting with Citizen Initiative
Review, and to abandon its attempts to hobble citizen initiatives.
"On most major issues we've
dealt with in the past 50 years, the public was more likely to be
right...based on the judgment of history...than the legislatures or
Congress." -George Gallup, Sr.