SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Assembly on Tuesday approved legislation making it harder for citizens to propose extreme ballot initiatives following the outrage over a measure advocating the slayings of gay and lesbian people.
The bills now headed to the Senate would increase the filing fee for ballot initiatives and add disclaimers about clearly unconstitutional measures.
The legislation's supporters have said the proposal to authorize the killings of anyone who has gay sex highlights the need to overhaul California's initiative system dating to the early 20th century.
Republican lawmakers said the proposed legislative fixes are an overreaction to a reprehensible measure that is virtually doomed to fail.
AB1100 by Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, would increase filing fees from $200 to $8,000 to reflect the costs of initial analysis. It passed 46-24 with opponents saying it would make it harder for citizens to serve as a check on their government.
AB884 by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, would allow the attorney general to include disclaimers on documents that proposed measures are likely unconstitutional. It passed 48 to 25.
The anti-gay measure has yet to be cleared for petition circulation. It needs hundreds of thousands of signatures in order to make the ballot, but Attorney General Kamala Harris is asking a court to reject the measure.
Other residents have countered the proposal by filing ballot initiatives to punish people who violate biblical-prohibitions against eating shellfish and citizens who propose homophobic ballot measures.