Deleware Citizens Seek to Exercise Their First Amendment Rights
Delaware Citizens Seek to Exercise Their First Amendment Rights(Drawn to our attention by Frank Sims - frank5965@...)
Thank you for your interest.
If you live in Delaware, you will find this information very helpful in gaining insight and knowledge of your First Amendment Right "to petition the government for redress of grievances."
Those we have elected to serve us in Delaware do not permit us full exercise of our First Amendment Rights. In 1906 the citizens in Delaware voted 87% to 13% in favor of advisory Initiative and Referendum only to discover the State Legislators were not interested in hearing what the people thought about issues that directly affected them. Instead, in 1907 the Legislature passed a bill giving I&R rights to the city of Wilmington. Voters there quickly used their newly discovered rights to put five initiatives on the ballot in early 1907. According to Equity, it was "the first use of Direct Legislation on general questions of public policy in an eastern city, and the first among african-american voters." Mean while the Delaware Referendum League pressed on for statewide I&R. Twelve years later, in 1919, they still came up short of the necessary two-thirds majority in both houses of the legislature.
In 1980 the police and firefighters union collected enough signatures to put an issue on the ballot in Wilmington only to be told that in 1965 the Legislature had quietly passed a municipal charter law that contained no I&R provision, and this law, state courts ruled, superseded the law that had given Wilmington I&R in 1907. In the mid sixties State Rep. John P. Ferguson sponsored an I&R bill which he introduced every session. By the mid-1970's, as speaker of the House, and with the support of the citizens, the I&R amendment to the Constitution won by a vote of 33 to 1 in the House and it sailed through the Senate, 14 to 3. However, the Delaware State Constitution requires that a constitutional amendment be approved by a two-thirds vote of both houses a second time, after the next election. Amending the Constitution is an extraordinarily difficult task in Delaware. The Framers, at that time, believed this tiny populated, geographically small agrarian state would continue to benefit from its closeness and from the dialogue between the people and their representatives. The difficulty in amending the Constitution gave opponent Governor Pierre S. DuPont lV time to began his organized opposition. Governor DuPont had none of the reformist notions of the earlier DuPont. On March 29, 1979, the house defeated I&R by 22 to 6.
In 1998 HB66 provided again for advisory Initiative and Referendum but never made it out of committee, allegedly because of lack of support by the citizenry even though a citizen petition process gathered almost 3,000 signatures. Polling results in late 1997 showed three out of four citizens wanted to reclaim their First Amendment Right and wanted their Legislator to act.
The following bills are proposed constitutional amendments in the current 140th General Assembly; Senate Bill 4 providing Constitutional Amendments be ratified at the polls and Senate Bill 7 providing for binding Initiative and Referendum. Missing, at this time, is the reintroduction of the 1998 HB 66.
A petition form is available for you to use in gathering signatures to present to your State Representative and your State Senator. Please e-mail the Delaware Initiative and Referendum Project for your copy. I would also suggest you tell your State Representative and State Senator you are here to reclaim your sovereignty that is inherently yours, that you want SB 4 and SB7 passed, and that you will "remember in November".
To reach Senate Democrats; 739-6890 in Dover, 577-3269 in Wilmington
To reach Senate Republican; 739-5049 in Dover, 577-3269 in Wilmington
To reach House Democrats; 739-2313 in Dover
To reach House Republicans 739-2773 in Dover, 577-6396 in Wilmington
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; Indeed, It's the only thing that ever has." Dr. Margaret Mead.