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Massachusetts Bills to Restrict Petition Circulators

Published on February 23, 2011, by in General.

Massachusetts Representative Harriett Stanley (D-West Newbury) has introduced two bills to restrict people who circulate initiative and referendum petitions. HB 207 says, “No person shall engage in the collection of signatures for an initiative or referendum petition for money or any other thing of value.” That bill, if enacted, would be held unconstitutional under the 1988 U.S. Supreme Court opinion Meyer v Grant, 486 U.S. 414. That unanimous decision held that petitioning is First Amendment activity and that states can’t ban paying people to circulate petitions.

Representative Stanley also introduced HB 206, which requires circulators to wear a badge showing their name and address. That bill, if enacted, would be unconstitutional under Buckley v American Constitutional Law Foundation, 525 U.S. 182 (1999), which struck down a Colorado law requiring paid circulators to wear a badge giving their name and address. That U.S. Supreme Court decision did not decide whether a state can require a circulator to wear a badge that tells if he or she is being paid. HB 206 also requires the badge to say how much the circulator is being paid. And it requires the badge to say who the employer is, and which organizations are paying the employer. All this must be clearly visible and in 14-point type. A circulator who violates this law can be fined $500, and his or her employer can be fined $5,000. Thanks to Carla Howell for this news.

7 Responses

  1. Keep suing to bankrupt the morons.

    Keep going to U.S. Attorneys and asking for grand jury indictments of the party hack MORONS in the party hack States — for the violations of U.S.A. CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

    What is going on in Libya ???

  2. Andy

    Why do legislators introduce bills where the subjects of them have already been ruled unconstitutional? Are they hoping that they’ll go to court and the decisions will get reversed, or are they just stupid, or what?

  3. # 2 Are they party hack ROBOTS from Outer Space — paying no attention whatever to SCOTUS — despite any oaths — U.S. Const. Art. VI ???

    Or worse — are they Outer Space reptiles ??? — See the ABC V show ???!!!

  4. Richard Winger

    There have probably been tens of thousands of court decisions in the U.S., striking down laws as unconstitutional. I think state legislators, like most of the rest of us, are unaware of most of these decisions. Of course most legislatures have professional attorneys who draft bills for legislators, and these professionals ought to know about court precedents.

  5. Julie

    Don’t you think Carla got this information from the Boston Herald story on Monday

  6. Paulie

    1) Aren’t these the same ideas being introduced in California, Washington State, etc?

    2) How about an initiative that “No person shall engage in legislating, legislative lobbying, legislative staff or campaign activities, or advertising for legislative campaigns for money or any other thing of value.” Tit for tat, fire with fire, or two wrong not making a right?

  7. For All — See the CONSTITUTION ANNOTATED — i.e. the now zillion SCOTUS cases about every word in the U.S.A. Constitution, as amended.
    —-
    How about a const. amdt. for each party hack robot —
    I swear (or affirm) that I have memorized every word in the C.A. above and will not enact any UN-constitutional law in violation of any SCOTUS opinion.

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