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Senate amends referendum, initiative legislation

Senate amends referendum, initiative legislation

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
March 26, 2013

The Senate has made changes to legislation regarding ballot initiatives and referendums in the state.
Senate Bill 1191 passed overwhelmingly, 33-1, Monday without floor debate. The legislation serves as a “trailer” bill to amend Senate Bill 1108, which passed in the Senate earlier this month, and which also passed in the House.

Current Idaho law requires that the minimum number of petition signatures to be collected in order for an issue to be considered by the secretary of state for placement on a ballot must be equal to 6 percent of the qualified electors within the state at the time of the last general election.

SB 1108, approved by both the Senate and the House would require both the collection of signatures within at least 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts as well as a minimum of 6 percent of the qualified electors within each of those 18 districts to sign the petition.

Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, however, wishes to amend Senate Bill 1108. Noting that the signature gathering requirements of the bill were “cumbersome” for counties that entail multiple legislative districts (such as Ada and Canyon, in particular), McKenzie sought to simplify things.

Under Senate Bill 1108’s requirements, those gathering signatures on petitions for a prospective ballot initiative or referendum would need to utilize a separate signature for each legislative district. This would mean that in Ada County, for example, nine separate petitions would be required to cover the county’s nine different legislative districts.

Senate Bill 1191 allows petition signature gatherers to use one petition form per county, and would leave the task of sorting out signatures according to legislative district to county clerks when they evaluate and seek to certify the signatures.

The bill now goes to the House for a vote.

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