CI 114: A Modest Proposal?

By Beacon Staff
By Tim Baldwin

In 2014, Montana may be able to vote on citizen initiative (CI) 114 if enough signatures are gathered to put it on the ballot. CI 114 would amend Montana’s Constitution requiring that the Legislature be 50 percent men and 50 percent women. CI 114 is absurd!

CI 114 puts gender above qualifications; degrades women; takes away voter choice; has no relationship to merits; assumes women think differently than men; and presumes Montanans are prejudiced against women.

And what if there are not enough women to run for the Legislature – will the governor force women to become candidates? Will districts not be represented for lack of women candidates? What if election results reveal that 60 percent of the legislators were men and 40 percent were women. Is the governor going to remove 10 percent of the men from office and appoint women?

And why stop at the Legislature? Why not require the judiciary and executive offices be proportional based on class? And why does CI 114 stop at the gender class? There are other classes, too: race, religion, occupation, wealth, education. Why doesn’t CI 114 require proportionality among these classes? It doesn’t, so obviously it discriminates against them, especially minorities.

CI 114 is plain wrong, anti-democratic, and unworkable. Don’t sign the petition for CI 114 and vote NO on CI 114.

By Joe Carbonari

I favor women’s involvement in politics, including their serving in any and all elective offices. Just ask my wife. I do not, however, favor the proposed CI-114, which calls for Montana’s Legislature to be comprised of exactly one-half men and one-half women. The transition period called for is short … the exact timing dependent upon the effective date of the next redistricting and reapportionment plan. The logistics alone are mind-boggling. The difficulties involved in recruiting properly qualified candidates to fit the potential election resultants make my head spin, very uncomfortably. Perhaps there are better paths to a better balance.

For instance, we might make our Legislature more “server friendly.” Our citizen Legislature meets for roughly 90 days every other year. Many, if not most, gainfully employed citizens find it difficult to free up that time. For women, particularly, it can even be more difficult. Not undoable, but certainly difficult. It is made even more so by the fact that the pay is minimal at best. This is true for men as well, and it limits the make-up of the Legislature to those that are fortunate enough to be in a position to afford, perhaps resulting in a limited and un-representative cross-section of our citizenry.

Let’s give this some more thought. The goals are good, but the means are problematic. What do the women say?

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