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    The Road to Tyranny by Don Jans

    2024 Election Fights Begin To Brew

    By Emily Hoeven

    California’s Nov. 8 election is less than two weeks away, but battle lines are already being drawn for elections in 2024 and beyond.

    Here’s a look at two key fights:

    First up: Not so fast, fast food companies. That was the message sent Thursday by the state’s largest labor union, SEIU California, when it asked both Attorney General Rob Bonta and Secretary of State Shirley Weber to investigate the fast food industry’s tactics in gathering signatures for a proposed 2024 referendum to overturn a new law establishing a state council to regulate industry wages and working conditions.

    SEIU California, which sponsored the controversial law, alleged that signature gatherers hired by the fast food industry are “willfully misleading voters to believe that the petition they are signing raises minimum wage for fast-food workers.”

    Save Local Restaurants, the coalition behind the referendum — led by the International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association — needs to collect about 623,000 valid signatures by Dec. 5 to put it before voters. That would put on pause the law — which could otherwise raise fast food workers’ minimum wage to as much as $22 starting next year — until voters determine its fate.

    Fast food workers said they plan to strike across California on Nov. 15 to protest “deceit” in the signature-gathering process.

    • Save Local Restaurants told the Los Angeles Times in a statement that it “has been vigilant in maintaining compliance with California’s election laws” and called the complaint “frivolous,” adding, “This is another brazen attempt by the SEIU to force a law on Californians that they do not want and that they cannot afford.”
    • The coalition also told the Times it has collected “nearly a million” signatures so far.
    • Ingrid Vilorio, a Jack in the Box worker from Castro Valley, said in a statement: With the new law, “McDonald’s, Starbucks and other corporations have an opportunity to sit down with us and work together to find solutions to improve the entire fast-food industry in California, but instead they are spending millions of dollars trying to mislead voters to deny Black and Latino workers a voice on the job.”

    Second: Rethinking who gets to draw the lines. Recently leaked racist comments that Los Angeles City Councilmembers made during redistricting last year have thrust back into the spotlight the politically perilous process of redrawing legislative, congressional and other districts every 10 years after the U.S. Census.

    So has a case the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Dec. 7. One of its central questions: whether state courts or state legislatures should have the final say over those district maps. At the state level in California, the maps are drawn by an independent commission; in some other states, they’re drawn by lawmakers, and tend to favor whichever political party is currently in power. Courts currently have the power to decide whether the maps meet constitutional requirements.

    On Thursday, Bonta and 21 other attorneys general filed a brief in the case, urging the nation’s highest court to uphold current law.

    • Bonta said in a statement: “The extreme legal theory being put forward in this case is a recipe for disaster for elections nationwide. Our democracy is built on a system of checks and balances. Allowing state legislatures to ignore other branches of government in setting rules for federal elections — bypassing the will of the people and state constitutions — runs counter to the history and practices of our nation.”

    Former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a similar argument in his own filing submitted Wednesday.

    • He summed it up in a tweet thread: “First, legislators draw district lines to lock in legislative incumbents so the people have no recourse at the ballot box, and then they tell us that only the state legislature, which they have now made certain the people can’t throw out in fair elections, can change the law. … James Madison said: ‘You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.’ These legislators want an uncontrollable government, and the Court shouldn’t give it to them.”



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