Legislators Poised To Tweak Idaho's Initiative Law

Feb 18, 2020

A proposal to tweak Idaho’s ballot initiative law is being redrafted after questions were raised about how it would apply to cities across the state.

 

 

The measure from Rep. Jim Addis (R-Coeur d'Alene) would limit initiatives to a single subject and require organizers to reveal whether they were using paid signature gatherers.

 

But it also would also delay the implementation of any initiative approved by voters until the following July – more than half a year later.

 

That piece of the proposal raised concerns from lawmakers. Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise) helped draft a recent Boise initiative that requires a public vote if the city spends any money on a stadium project costing more than $5 million.

 

He says even though that initiative passed overwhelmingly, a delay in implementing it under Addis’s proposal could give a lame duck city council and mayor time to skirt the will of the voters.

 

That delay would also give state lawmakers a full session to head off any initiative they might disagree with.

 

Reclaim Idaho, the group behind a successful initiative in 2018 to expand Medicaid eligibility and a proposal to boost education funding, said in a statement, "We are concerned the so-called ‘single-subject’ rule could be used as a tool to stifle the constitutional right of every Idahoan to bring an initiative, but we look forward to hearing testimony on the subject next week."

 

Addis says his intent was to have the measure only apply to state initiatives and that he can make those changes before bringing it back before a House committee next week.

 

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