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House Bill 285 — Initiatives, signature gatherers

House Bill 285 — Initiatives, signature gatherers

by
Parrish Miller
March 10, 2023

Bill Description: House Bill 285 would require people who get paid for gathering signatures for an initiative or referendum to register with the Secretary of State.

Rating: 0

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

House Bill 285 would amend Section 34-1807, Idaho Code, and create Section 67-6612A, Idaho Code, to require paid signature gatherers to register with the Secretary of State.

In addition, these individuals would be required to complete "a training administered by the secretary of state" and pay a registration fee of $10. This fee will help offset some of the costs of having the Secretary of State to administer this requirement, estimated at $50,000 per year.

These requirements will not burden volunteers, as there is a subsection explicitly stating that this law would not apply to "any person who receives no compensation for circulating the initiative or referendum petition for signatures."

While this registration and training process could have some benefits, implementing these policies would expand the role and scope of the Secretary of State's office.

(-1)

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency, accountability, or election integrity? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency, accountability, or election integrity?

Paid signature gatherers for an initiative or referendum are employed to take part in a political process that can put a proposed law on the ballot. Because the laws advanced by initiative or referendum can have a significant impact on the lives and freedoms of Idahoans, it is appropriate that there are safeguards in place to make sure that those gathering the signatures are doing so legally.

Requiring paid signature gatherers to register with the Secretary of State could help when it is necessary to investigate fraudulent or illegitimate signatures. It could also help facilitate the enforcement of the existing law which requires signature gatherers to be Idaho residents.

(+1)

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