Initiative and Referendum

In accordance with the approval of delegates at Convention 2011, the LWVC is undertaking an update study of the Initiative and Referendum Process in California. Learn more about what studies are and why we do them on our issues page.

Study Committee

Members of the committee are responsible for developing study scope, timeline and budget; providing study materials and consensus questions; preparing community education materials on the initiative and referendum process in California; participating in reviewing/tabulating all of the responses submitted by participating Leagues; and based on the responses, recommending position language to the LWVC board.

Study Scope

A study of the initiative and referendum processes in California, including a review of the current system and proposals for reform. The study will include:

  • a review of the current LWVC position on the Initiative and Referendum Process
  • the history of initiative and referendum, with a focus on California
  • how the initiative and referendum processes have changed and are changing
  • identification of key issues for California
  • ideas for change and reform of the initiative and referendum processes
  • creation of community education and outreach material for use by local Leagues and other groups.

Study Committee Requirements

Please contact your local League if you'd like to serve on their local study committee. Some local committees do not require you to be a member to participate in discussions (though they usually require you to be a member to contribute to the consensus decisions). It will be a fun way for new members to learn about the League, and a great way for long-time members to make a difference using their skills. Members of the LWVC Initiative and Referendum Study Committee can be contacted at irstudy<at> (where <at> is the @ symbol).

What is the Schedule for the State Study?

The tentative schedule for the committee is:

  • Members appointed at the LWVC board meeting July 8-10
  • Committee training meeting with LWVC staff and board members in August 2011
  • Information for local League newsletter articles, programs, etc. posted fall 2011–spring 2012
  • Study material to local Leagues in summer 2012
  • Local Leagues’ consensus reports due March 2013

Study Materials

Do We Have To Take This Much Initiative: LWVC’s Senior Director for Program, Trudy Schafer, led this discussion of the future of initiative and referendum in California as part of the Zócalo Public Square discussions celebrating the 100th anniversary of the initiative and referendum process in California. The discussion asked whether the initiative process advanced the cause of good governance in California, or just contributed to governmental dysfunction? The League of Women Voters of Los Angeles cosponsored the program, thanks to a generous donation from Martin Kellner in honor of his wife, Dorothy Kellner, who was president of the LWV Beverly Hills and LWV California. Photos are on Flickr, you can watch the full video, and you can read about it on the Zócalo page.

The Study Guide is pending.

A Leader's Guide is provided to assist local League study committees as they prepare to present study materials and to facilitate discussions at their League's consensus sessions. This is pending.

Members have access to a more detailed page of initiative and referendum resources on our members only site (contact us if you are a member and don't know how to access our members only site).

We also have a Facebook group for this study, which members and the public are invited to join.

Contact Us for More Information

Please contact Helen Hutchison for more information at hhutchison <at> (where <at> is the @ symbol).