Bill Description: House Bill 512 amends Section 34-106 of Idaho Code to prevent failed bond elections from appearing on a ballot within 11 months of a previously being voted down by electors.
Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency, accountability, or election integrity?
Under current statute, there are very few limitations for how often a taxing district may place a bond question on the ballot in a given year. In fact, water districts, school districts, and community colleges may place bond questions on the ballot during any of Idaho’s four election seasons throughout the year. Furthermore, a failed bond initiative may appear on the ballot again, as long as this happens at least two months after voters first reject it. Consequently, special taxing districts can indefinitely retry failed bond initiatives until they pass.
With so many election seasons throughout the year, voter turnout and political preferences of the electorate will vary wildly. A law that lets a taxing district repeatedly place a question on the ballot lets it take advantage of that fact. Officials can keep putting a question on the ballot as they try to discover the mix of voters that is most favorable to their goals. As an added benefit, any opposition to the bond initiative will be fatigued, and no longer be a threat to the measure.
HB 512 resolves the issue of unfairly retrying failed bond initiatives by limiting taxing districts to one bond of a particular purpose or subject to appear on the ballot per calendar year. This limitation allows more election integrity and improves government accountability to the will of voters in their districts.
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