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When it comes potential measures for the 2012 ballot, Californians appear to have a case of "refer" madness.

No, we're not talking about another attempt to ask Golden State voters to legalize marijuana for recreational use, though one has been filed. This year has seen a record number of referendum efforts launched to challenge laws recently added to the books.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, became the latest to pledge a referendum fight, saying this weekend he will try to qualify a measure to overturn a recently signed law allowing some illegal immigrants attending college to receive state-funded financial aid.

Donnelly's effort would bring the total number of referendum drives launched this year to eight. The previous record was five measures filed for the1920 ballot, according to data posted on the secretary of state's website.

Voters will see far fewer than eight referendums - if any - on the ballot next year. Three campaigns have either failed to qualify or already been abandoned, including a challenge of the state's new tax collection law for online retailers dropped as part of a compromise with to delay implementation for one year.

Qualifying a referendum for the ballot is a challenge in itself. Proponents must collect more than 500,000 valid voter signatures within 90 days of a bill being signed into law to make it on the ballot. If they succeed, the law is put on hold until voters have a say on whether to keep or repeal the measure in question.

Targets of referendums currently pending or circulating petitions to qualify include a push to put all future initiatives on the November general election ballot, legislation to require public schools teach students about the historical contributions of gay and lesbian individuals, and new political maps for congressional and state Senate districts crafted by an independent redistricting panel.

See a list of all proposed referendum and initiatives currently in circulation at this link.


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