I agree with Jim Fossel that the people’s veto can be a “check on power,” as he stated in his Aug. 18 opinion column.

For example, I worked to get ranked-choice voting on the ballot, then saw the Legislature gut it, so I worked with others to use the people’s veto to suspend that undemocratic action. We retained ranked-choice voting by a decisive vote, and deployed it in the last primary and general (federal) elections. I trust that Fossel will now support ranked-choice voting and encourage the Republican Party to respect the people’s will on this issue.

Meanwhile, the substance of the laws being challenged today by people’s veto efforts ought to be the focus of Fossel’s and anyone’s concerns. There is no question that immunization from childhood diseases affects herd immunity. Planned Parenthood is being undermined by President Trump’s policies, so restoring state support for abortions is a reasonable restoration of public policy in the face of the Republican gag rule, which harms women and probably increases the actual demand for abortions. Access to medication-assisted suicide in L.D. 1313 has wide support in the health care and patient community.

Each of these laws has support in the documentation the Legislature took into account. Whether to sign a petition or not to put a people’s veto proposal on the ballot (delaying the law’s implementation along the way) should be based on a comparison of the harm to be avoided and the harm done by so doing in each case.

It is a mistake to imply that Mainers should just sign all of them willy-nilly to “check power” when power, in these cases, should not be checked.


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