Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

4. Resolution purpose: S.J. Res. 67 would allow the use of the initiative process at the national level. The initiative process allows citizens to place a proposed law on the ballot by gathering signatures of registered voters, equal in number to 3 percent of the ballots cast for President in the last Presidential election, including signatures from 10 states equal in number to 3 percent of the ballots Icast in the last Presidential election in each of the 10 states. The chief law enforcement officer of the United States must certify the validity of the signatures, in consultation with the states, within 90 days after the presentation of the proposed law.

5. Cost estimate: To become effective, this amendment must be ratified by threefourths of the states. Thus, by itself, passage of the resolution by Congress does not result in a cost to the government.

The following table summarizes the costs that would be incurred if this resolution is passed and the amendment ratified.

[blocks in formation]

For the purpose of presenting these costs, it is assumed that the resolution will be passed, the amendment ratified, and the first proposed law presented to the Attorney General in fiscal year 1980.

The costs of this amendment fall within budget function 750.

6. Basis of estimate: It was assumed that one petition containing the text of a proposed law and the required signatures would be presented to the Attorney General's office in fiscal year 1980, and one in each non-election year and two in each election year thereafter.

Signatures needed to place a proposed law on the ballot must be equal in number to 3 percent of the voters in the last Presidential election. In 1976 there were 81.5 million ballots cast for the President. This was a 5 percent increase from 1972. It was assumed that there will be a 5 percent increase in the number of voters by 1980, bringing the total number of voters to 85.6 million. With the 3 percent requirement, 2.6 million valid signatures would be needed.

Based on statistics compiled by various states which now authorize the initiative process, it was estimated that 20 percent of the signatures collected on the petition will be invalid. Therefore, in order to ensure that the required number of valid signatures are attained, it is likely that at least 3.8 million signatures will appear on any petition in 1980 and 4 million thereafter, until the next Presidential election.

It was assumed that the federal government will reimburse the states for any costs they incur in verifying signatures for this purpose. Based on data compiled from a number of states, it was estimated that this cost in fiscal year 1980 would be $0.21 per signature. The 1980 cost per signature was inflated by the CBO estimate of the CPI inflator to obtain costs in later years.

Additional costs to the federal government with the enactment of S.J. Res. 67 were projected to be incidental.

7. Estimate comparison: None.

8. Previous CBO estimate: None.

9. Estimate prepared by: Chris M. Blair and Kathy Weiss. 10. Estimate approved by:

C. G. NUCHOLS (For James L. Blum, Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.)

Senator ABOUREZK. First of all, I would like to express the deep thanks of myself and all of those citizens who are supporting the initiative constitutional amendment to Senator Birch Bayh, the chairman of the subcommittee, for holding quick hearings.

As James Kilpatrick pointed out in a column Saturday, that is not easy to do in Senator Bayh's committees to get hearings on any, as he calls it, "kooky" idea.

Law Enforcement Officer. It must be recognized that some States, or counties within the States, do not register voters. This would place the Department in a position of attempting to verify voting qualifications under State law for each signatory in such States or automatically disqualifying all signatories in those States lacking a registration procedure. The Department is not equipped to perform this function on a national level.

While the Department recognizes the concern for citizen participation which prompts this proposal, it must oppose S.J. Res. 67 for the foregoing reasons. The Office of Management and Budget has advised that it has no objection to the submission of this report from the standpoint of the Administration's program.

Sincerely,

PATRICIA M. WALD, Assistant Attorney General.

[The following correspondence was subsequently submitted for the record and marked "Exhibit No. 2" and "Exhibit No. 3," and follows:]

[EXHIBIT NO. 2]

MS. ALICE RIVLIN,

U.S. SENATE,

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY, SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION, Washington, D.C., January 18, 1978.

Congressional Budget Office, House Annex 2, Second and D Streets SW., Washington, D.C.

DEAR MS. RIVLIN: On December 13-14, 1977, the Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee held hearings on the Voter Initiative Constitutional amendment introduced by Senators Abourezk and Hatfield, S. J. Res. 67.

One of the questions that was raised was the cost of administering this program. Testimony from state election officials has indicated that it costs approximately 21 cents to validate a signature at the state level.

I would greatly appreciate receiving a cost estimate from the CBO on this legislation.

Thanking you in advance for your cooperation.

[blocks in formation]

Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Pursuant to Section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Congressional Budget Office has prepared the attached cost estimate for S. J. Res. 67, a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States with respect to the proposal and the enactment of laws by popular vote of the people of the United States.

Should the Committee so desire, we would be pleased to provide further details on the attached cost estimate.

Sincerely,

ALICE M. RIVLIN, Director.

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE, COST ESTIMATE

1. Resolution Number: S.J. Res. 67.

February 27, 1978.

2. Resolution title: Joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States with respect to the proposal and the enactment of laws by popular vote of the people of the United States.

3. Resolution status: As referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, July 11, 1977.

4. Resolution purpose: S.J. Res. 67 would allow the use of the initiative process at the national level. The initiative process allows citizens to place a proposed law on the ballot by gathering signatures of registered voters, equal in number to 3 percent of the ballots cast for President in the last Presidential election, including signatures from 10 states equal in number to 3 percent of the ballots cast in the last Presidential election in each of the 10 states. The chief law enforcement officer of the United States must certify the validity of the signatures, in consultation with the states, within 90 days after the presentation of the proposed law.

5. Cost estimate: To become effective, this amendment must be ratified by threefourths of the states. Thus, by itself, passage of the resolution by Congress does not result in a cost to the government.

The following table summarizes the costs that would be incurred if this resolution is passed and the amendment ratified.

[blocks in formation]

For the purpose of presenting these costs, it is assumed that the resolution will be passed, the amendment ratified, and the first proposed law presented to the Attorney General in fiscal year 1980.

The costs of this amendment fall within budget function 750.

6. Basis of estimate: It was assumed that one petition containing the text of a proposed law and the required signatures would be presented to the Attorney General's office in fiscal year 1980, and one in each non-election year and two in each election year thereafter.

Signatures needed to place a proposed law on the ballot must be equal in number to 3 percent of the voters in the last Presidential election. In 1976 there were 81.5 million ballots cast for the President. This was a 5 percent increase from 1972. It was assumed that there will be a 5 percent increase in the number of voters by 1980, bringing the total number of voters to 85.6 million. With the 3 percent requirement, 2.6 million valid signatures would be needed.

Based on statistics compiled by various states which now authorize the initiative process, it was estimated that 20 percent of the signatures collected on the petition will be invalid. Therefore, in order to ensure that the required number of valid signatures are attained, it is likely that at least 3.8 million signatures will appear on any petition in 1980 and 4 million thereafter, until the next Presidential election.

It was assumed that the federal government will reimburse the states for any costs they incur in verifying signatures for this purpose. Based on data compiled from a number of states, it was estimated that this cost in fiscal year 1980 would be $0.21 per signature. The 1980 cost per signature was inflated by the CBO estimate of the CPI inflator to obtain costs in later years.

Additional costs to the federal government with the enactment of S.J. Res. 67 were projected to be incidental.

7. Estimate comparison: None.

8. Previous CBO estimate: None.

9. Estimate prepared by: Chris M. Blair and Kathy Weiss. 10. Estimate approved by:

C. G. NUCHOLS (For James L. Blum, Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.)

Senator ABOUREZK. First of all, I would like to express the deep thanks of myself and all of those citizens who are supporting the initiative constitutional amendment to Senator Birch Bayh, the chairman of the subcommittee, for holding quick hearings.

As James Kilpatrick pointed out in a column Saturday, that is not easy to do in Senator Bayh's committees to get hearings on any, as he calls it, "kooky" idea.

I want also to say that the only journalistic criticisms of this proposal for the initiative have come from George Will and JamesKilpatrick, which leads me to believe that we are on to something good.

I will put my own statement in the record and ask that it be printed in full.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES ABOUREZK, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA

Five months ago, Senator Hatfield, Senator Gravel and I introduced Senate Joint Resolution 67, the voter initiative amendment. This marked the first time in our Nation's history that legislation had been introduced into either the House or the Senate which would allow for the use of the voter initiative process at the national level, even though the process has been proven effective in 23 States during the past 60-70 years.

Since the introduction into the Senate, two bills have been introduced in the House, one by Congressman Jim Jones, (D-Okla.), and another by Congressman Guy Vander Jagt (R-Mich.). Fourteen Members of the House have cosponsored these two pieces of legislation.

Today, this subcommittee becomes the first congressional committee or subcommittee in either Chamber to consider this further expansion of voting rights of the American people-the right to vote directly on issues. In the five months since its introduction on July 11, the voter initiative amendment has become a serious constitutional proposal which is commanding the support of liberals, conservatives, Republicans and Democrats alike. The voter initiative process is truly a bipartisan issue and it has generated support from the Americans of every political persuasion.

The response I have received to the introduction of this amendment has gone beyond my highest expectations. I have been contacted by a number of potential candidates for the House and the Senate who plan to use this issue in their campaigns next year. The mail I have received and the extraordinary amount of media coverage given to this issue has convinced me that the concept of the American people voting directly on national issues is an idea whose time has come.

It is clear that the voter initiative amendment is overwhelmingly supported by the American people. The public again expressed support for the right to initiative, when, just last month, the voters of the District of Columbia adopted the voter initiative process by an overwhelming 83 percent vote. In the 23 States where the voters have previously adopted the initiative process, there has never been a serious effort to repeal the process. In these States, the voter initiative has become an accepted, integral part of the decision making process.

The amendment has generated the support it has because the voting public realizes there is a clear need for it. Time after time, special interests of one kind or another block legislation in the Congresslegislation that often is strongly supported by a majority of Ameri

« AnteriorContinuar »