Bill description: SB 1350 would make the fiscal impact of statewide citizen initiatives more transparent.
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?
Idahoans who want to enact new legislation (an initiative) or call for a vote of the electorate to either affirm or repeal existing legislation (a referendum) must get the state to approve the petition they will use to gather signatures. SB 1350 would require those who submit a petition for a statewide initiative to also propose a non-binding funding source for any government spending that would result from their initiative.
Additionally, this bill requires that, should the initiative petition be approved for circulating, the Idaho Division of Financial Management put together a fiscal impact statement. This statement would then be circulated with the initiative, so that those who choose to sign it know the fiscal impact of their choice.
Both items in this bill — a proposed funding source and a fiscal impact statement — are similar to expectations placed on a state or local government when it places a question before voters. Think of bond elections for school districts, which require the government to be transparent about how much money will be used, how that money will be used, and how the cost will affect voters. SB 1350 simply demands the same transparency from statewide citizens initiatives.
Analyst’s Note: Our rating of this bill is unaltered by amendments made to it on 3/13.