(This is why I wanted to be on the platform committee. While statewide questions may be tough to do, questions in individual state representative districts are a very good way to put our agenda on the ballot. – promoted by EaBo Clipper)
I’ve been thinking about this a bit and I wonder if running a bunch of GOP-backed ballot initiatives could help us win some points with the populace.
By this I don’t mean the gay marriage amendment or other old standbys that are stuck in limbo. There’s enough poo being flung at Beacon Hill to keep those kinds of initiatives there forever.
I think we instead need to look at populist and progressive issues that we can address in conservative ways through initiative packages that give different constituencies reason to vote in favor. For instance, an environmental initiative that improves our state’s energy independence, safeguards families’ right to farm, cleans up gun and hunting laws to increase participation which increases revenues that buy land for protection, etc.
We need to work out a lot of details, but here is a set of ideas that we can mull over:
Amendment For Total Ethics Reform (AFTER): State constitutional amendment to institute double sentences for corruption and civil rights violations by elected officials and other sworn officers; independent redistricting commission; rolling term limits; government spending website; forbid capping the number of liquor licenses available and require licenses to be issued solely on objective criteria; forbid state government from issuing casino licenses except where requested by the local governments of, and approved by a majority of voters in, each Massachusetts community within 20 road miles of the proposed casino site; etc.
Extensive Amendment to Restore Nimble Economic Development (EARNED): State constitutional amendment to require 67% voter approval of all new taxes and fees or increases thereof; government spending website; protect Prop 2 1/2; forbid government from negotiating wages, salaries, or compensation packages in excess of the private sector’s 75th percentile, except to provide a “living wage”; permit all businesses that have been headquartered in Massachusetts for at least two years to bid on any government contract without requiring additional vetting or approval; forbid capping the number of liquor licenses available and require licenses to be issued solely on objective criteria; require Secretary of the Commonwealth to annually calculate and publicize a “living wage”- the average hourly wage and annual salary necessary for a full-time worker in Massachusetts to provide a “wholesome but austere” lifestyle for self, spouse, and three children (does not mandate payment, just information- to keep liberal extremists’ claims in check); establish and define neighborhood-based “smart” zoning as the official community planning tradition of the Commonwealth, while deprecating and defining sprawl zoning; statewide right to farm on lands farmed within the last 150 years except for critical habitats that have been allowed to return to a wild state or within 100 feet of a residence on another party’s property; permit all families who earn 30% or more of their income from farming to operate a year-round farm stand on their property, up to 500sqft. per 10 acres of utilized farmland, provided that they provide adequate on-site parking and comply with health and safety laws; etc.
Peoples’ Restoration Initiative for the Modern Environment (PRIME): Establish basic provisions for district heating/cooling systems; set streamlined, statewide zoning and code standards for small, locally-owned renewable energy projects; institute sliding scale of RMV registration fees based on gas mileage; increase MassPike toll discount for FastLane users driving vehicles with good gas mileage; allow Sunday hunting with landowner permission or on public lands bought or maintained by hunting license/gun tax revenue except within 1000′ of a playground, picnicking, camping, or swimming area during their active seasons or within 500′ of an occupied building; clarify hunting laws and establish them as uniform statewide; raise hunting and fishing license fees to the nearest whole dollar with the extra money set aside for purchasing land, especially in areas with less WMA (public hunting land) acreage; clarify gun laws and establish them as uniform statewide, lower gun license fees, and unify LTCs; provide better wildlife habitat by mandating a minimum number of acres of meadow/open/scrub per square mile of state-maintained protected land; recognize the American Chestnut (Castanea Dentata) as the Massachusetts State Nut and Nut Emblem and directing the Dept. of Natural Resources to encourage and assist efforts in the plant’s restoration whenever possible; increase Chapter 61 tax penalties for taking prime agricultural lands, scenic vistas, wetlands, or critical habitat lands out of protection; reduce Chapter 61 penalties for taking land out of protection in specially-designated “Future Neighborhood” zoning clusters; direct MassGIS to identify “Future Neighborhood” candidate areas (not prime agricultural lands, scenic vistas, wetlands, or critical habitat lands) in each community with a population density less than 1000/sqmi; incentivize towns to adopt neighborhood-based smart zoning and to designate at least one “Future Neighborhood” zoning cluster in which neighborhood center development is encouraged and permitting is easier; statewide right to farm on lands farmed within the last 150 years except for critical habitats that have been allowed to return to a wild state or within 100 feet of a residence on another party’s property; etc.
State-of-the-art Citizens’ Information Freedom Initiative (SCIFI): Internet freedom; anti-throttling; government spending website; privacy; no REAL-ID; etc. (Need help with specifics. Intent is to make GOP party of Internet crowd while Dems get cozier with restrictive forces.)