Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Why do I like the initiative process?

Because while it sometimes allows corporations to control policy, it can allow workers to do the same. In Florida, voters have placed an initiative to raise the minimum wage on the ballot:

A citizens initiative to raise the minimum wage by $1 an hour in Florida has secured a spot on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Sponsors say the proposed constitutional amendment will have the added bonus of increasing Democratic turnout in a key presidential battleground state.
The measure would set the Florida minimum wage at $6.15 an hour and tie annual increases to inflation. It would apply to anyone covered by the federal minimum wage, which hasn't changed in seven years.
"The smartest CEOs in the world know this is the right thing to do," said Joe Johnson, campaign manager for Floridians for All, which sponsored the initiative.
If it is approved by voters, 300,000 people who work for less than $6.15 an hour would directly benefit. Supporters say an additional 400,000 or more workers who make less than $7.15 will probably also see their pay go up.

It's safe to say that Florida's Republican government would never have considered an increase, and they certainly wouldn't have approved it. Without the initiative process, Florida workers would be out of luck. But with the initiative process, they have the opportunity to improve their lives, Republican government be damned.

This isn't the only progressive initiative on its way to the ballot. Another, promoted by the ACLU of Florida, would end Florida's ban on ex-felon voting. In Florida, the ban prevents one-third of all black men from voting, and Florida Republicans have employed the ban to "accidentally" purge non-felons from their voter files, simply because they have similar names.

Every Floridian should print, sign, and send this form. Help put this unpopular injustice to an end.