Free and Initiative Petition

I take this from my published testimony before the Methuen CHARTER COMMISSION PUBLIC HEARING on THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009.

Jack Burke, 49 Canobieola Road, spoke about the free petition and initiative petition in our current Charter.

He began by quoting from a sitting Councilor who once said “who is he to write laws?” because he had actually written an ordinance and submitted it to the Council.
“Who am I?”
He‟s a citizen and under the laws of this state and this Charter,
he has the right to free petition.

He would like to see that right extended in a much broader fashion.
Currently a free petition requires 150 signatures.
However, it only requires 50 signatures to run for office from any district and write laws. He would like to see the free petition requirement at 50 signatures.
“Why should it be more difficult for a citizen whose interested in his government and his city to propose a law than it is to actually run and sit on the Council?”
He stated that he would like to see that reduced from 150 down to 50 and would like to see the City of Methuen be no more stringent than the State of Massachusetts.

The City of Methuen requires 10% of the registered voters who participated in the last election to sign any initiative petition.
However, the State of Massachusetts says you only need 1 ½ to 2 % of all the voters.
He doesn‟t know why Methuen should be any more stringent for an initiative petition than the State of Massachusetts recognizes by Statute, in law, currently.

He would like to see that changed.

My remarks continued on another topic at this point.

admin posted at 2011-2-12 Category: Charter

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