Four proposed constitutional amendments, three passed during the 2010 legislative session, have received the go ahead from the Legislative Council, which met Friday to approve the language for the measures, as well as the constitutionally-required pro and con arguments provided in the state voters’ guide.
The first measure that received linguistic approval from the council was 2009's Senate Joint Memorial 101, which alters how the University of Idaho charges tuitions and fees to its undergraduate students. The amendment represents no major shift in education or fiscal policy, but rather is a modernizing of language that brings the school in line with all other state-funded universities and colleges. Because the university was founded prior to Idaho's official statehood, the school is often dealt with independent of all other state schools.
The other three measures were all approved during the 2010 legislative session. Each proposed measure would alter the Idaho Constitution to allow certain public entities - airports, county hospitals, and city electric utilities companies - to incur long-term debt necessary for improvements. Lawmakers felt the need to change the constitution to allow for the debt because of a 2006 Supreme Court ruling that prohibits the practice.
With the approval of how the wording for each constitutional question will appear on the ballots in November's general election, committee members also approved pro and con arguments for each measure, meant to inform voters before going to the polls. The statements will not appear on ballots, but will be included with a voter guide prepared by the secretary of state's office. Each proposed amendment must garner more than 50 percent of the vote in November to be enacted into law.
(Note: Read IdahoReporter.com's past coverage of the three debt amendments here.)