When I received a tax refund, the government was implicitly telling me that they made a mistake: “Too much money was withheld from your income, Thomas. Here is the rest of it back.” Yes, to return that money to me was “retroactive.” It involved reversing an earlier decision. But I am sure we would both agree that, retroactive or not, my tax refund was not an evil or nefarious plot to take away my rights.
Ballot Question 1 is indeed “retroactive.” It gives the Legislature (a superior body) the opportunity to alter an earlier mistake made by the agency (an inferior body) that issued Central Maine Power its permit. It is “retroactive” in a deeply American sense. It is “retroactive” like a tax refund.
It seems then that the only dangerous precedent at stake is the one being advanced by CMP’s multimillion-dollar advertisement campaign: a precedent that lumps the good retroactivity in with the bad.