Protect Petition Rights in Texas:
the Right to Initiative, Referendum and Recall (I, R & R)
The mother of all reforms is the citizens’ right to statewide initiative and referendum -- the right to petition to place new laws or a vote to revoke laws already passed, on the ballot. Twenty-four states have enjoyed the citizens’ right to petition to place initiatives and referendums on the statewide ballot since the early 1900s. These rights were secured during the agrarian populist era. Texas just missed the boat in 1905 and it failed in the legislature. However, in 1912, Texans a constitutional change that granted I&R (including the right to recall) at the municipal level only -- in home rule cities (cities with at least 5,000 population and a city charter).
The Texas legislature, over years, upon the insistence of some industry lobbies, some wayward municipal governments, and now, even some trade organizations, regularly entertains bills to whittle away at (or to take an axe to), the fundamental right to petition for redress of grievances. LIV watches these bills closely and urges you to take action when asked. As well, we can help you learn about how to use this process in your community.
Women’s suffrage, labor rights, social security and many more reforms were won through the citizens initiative process in our country. In recent times I&R seems to be the only way to enact any fundamental and structural political reforms — like term limits and redistricting reform. We strongly support Texans right to initiative, referendum and recall at all levels of elections. Think about how just those two reforms -- term limits and redistricting reform -- would bring about more competitive elections in Texas. I, R & R is the tool to get us there.
Watch our slide show on petition rights.
Learn more about the power of the initiative from Citizens in Charge Foundation, founded by Paul Jacob, one of the key leaders for term limits.