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November 5, 1938

PROSTITUTING THE INITIATIVE!

JAMA. 1938;111(19):1769. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790450051015

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Abstract

In several states by constitutional amendment the people have the right to vote directly on legislation which they themselves initiate or on measures already passed by the legislature. By this means the laws of the state may be made more clearly to reflect the will of a majority of the voters. The initiative procedure, however beneficial its attributes may be theoretically, has unfortunately been utilized by small groups to foster schemes for selfish ends. On November 8 the people of three states will vote on measures initiated by such groups.

In California a measure initiated by a small group of emotionalists seeks to cripple scientific research in the state by making it difficult if not impossible to procure animals for experimental purposes. In Oklahoma an initiative measure proposes, among other things, to permit hospitals legally to enter into contracts for medical services, if the hospital is organized "on a mutual

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