Bill Description: Senate Bill 1110 would require that signatures for initiatives and referendums be gathered from all 35 legislative districts in Idaho.
Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?
Senate Bill 1110 amends Section 34-1805, Idaho Code, to require that an initiative or referendum petition include signatures from at least 6% of "the qualified electors at the time of the last general election" in each of the state's 35 legislative districts. Current law requires signatures from 6% of the total number of qualified electors in the state at the time of the last general election, but only 18 legislative districts have to hit the 6% threshold.
This change would require that Idahoans from all parts of the state (rather than just the urban areas) sign on to an idea before it can be added to the ballot. In doing so, it increases the geographic scope of government accountability.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
Senate Bill 1110 helps to restore some of the constitutional principles that have been lost in the initiative and referendum process. The U.S. Constitution guarantees "to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government," but steps to push the country toward direct democracy have been ongoing for more than a century. The initiative and referendum process is part of this shift. The U.S. Constitution established a system of representation that recognizes not just population centers, but the geographic and cultural boundaries that make up states. By preventing the initiative and referendum process in Idaho from bypassing most counties and electoral districts, Senate Bill 1110 helps to secure a republican form of government in Idaho.
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