The referendum campaign gathered more than 350,000 signatures in less than 70 days, which included the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Those numbers, while falling short of the more than 434,000 needed to qualify the referendum for the ballot, sent shock waves through the political landscape since it did not rely on any paid signature-gatherers. Sensing the campaign's strength, Superintendent of Schools Jack O'Connell sent a letter to every school district in the state, seeking to stifle support for the referendum.
Karen England, Executive Director of Capitol Resource Family Impact, which spearheaded the referendum drive, commented, "We have been amazed by the enormous, passionate response of California citizens. We have never seen a response akin to the SB 777 reaction. This legislation represents a line in the sand for California families. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of voters who joined us in opposing the work of a handful of legislators, we must continue the fight."
The new initiative will allow significantly more time to gather signatures. Unlike the referendum, which had to comply with unusual size requirements, the initiative will be posted on the internet, greatly increasing its accessibility to voters.
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, joined today's press conference as a Save Our Kids Coalition Member. He stated, "Many citizens are just now learning about SB 777 and its shocking policies. These citizens want their children protected from radical indoctrination in public schools. Word will continue to spread, and we are confident that even more signatures will be gathered for this initiative."