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Courts Could Decide Idaho's New Ballot Initiative Restrictions

Amy Pratt, a volunteer for Reclaim Idaho, gathers signatures by going door-to-door in Idaho Falls in October 2018 to encourage voters to expand Medicaid eligibility in Idaho.
James Dawson
/
Boise State Public Radio
Amy Pratt, a volunteer for Reclaim Idaho, gathers signatures by going door-to-door in Idaho Falls in October 2018 to encourage voters to expand Medicaid eligibility in Idaho.

On Saturday, Gov. Brad Little signed a bill into law that adds new rules to the state's ballot initiative process. The bill’s opponents say the governor likely signed a death warrant for any future attempts by citizens to bring an initiative to the ballot box, and are prepared to challenge it in court.

Supporters say this new law will guarantee that all districts will be involved in the legislative process, not just the more populated districts.

The law requires signature gatherers to collect six percent of signatures from registered voters in all 35 of Idaho’s legislative district, increasing the number of districts from the current 18. Idaho Matters checks-in with Luke Mayville from Reclaim Idaho, which mounted a successful ballot initiative to expand Medicaid, and who is opposed to the new law. Boise State University Jaclyn Kettler political scientist offers analysis of the politics behind this.

Gemma is the host of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show which broadcasts live Monday-Friday at noon. She is an award-winning journalist and has spent the majority of her broadcasting career in Idaho. Gemma was a television news anchor and reporter in Boise for close to 15 years. She came to Boise in 1999 to start Fox 12.