Devastating reporting from the Idaho Capital Sun for anyone who believes participatory democracy means anything in this state anymore.
Gov. Brad Little received approximately 2,150 emails and 4,000 phone calls asking him to veto the bill that changes the requirements for gathering signatures to trigger a ballot initiative – a bill Little signed April 17.
Per Idaho law, Little had five days from the time the bill was delivered to his desk to sign or veto it. Alternatively, the governor also has the option to let the five days expire and allow the bill to become law without his signature.
Marissa Morrison Hyer, press secretary for the governor’s office, sent the constituent call tally to the Idaho Capital Sun after an emailed request. Hyer said approximately 2,200 emails were received in total, with 50 encouraging Little to sign Senate Bill 1110. Approximately 100 phone calls were in favor of signing the bill. Hyer said the office also received 30 letters urging his veto.
So just two percent of the people who contacted the governor wanted him to sign the bill. He had vetoed two bills in 2019 that had the same intent. He had a former Attorney General deliver to him a petition with over 16,000 signatures urging him to veto the bill. He had the option of not signing the bill and letting it become law. Had he vetoed the bill, the House and Senate had large enough majorities to override it. But no, the governor signed on to the bill that had been testified against by the public 7–2 in its two committee hearings.
Brad Little. Proudly standing up to 98% of Idahoans objecting to the legislature’s bill stealing their powers just days after vetoing bills that would have stolen his powers. But the people, in the form of Reclaim Idaho, are fighting back.
Reclaim Idaho is taking Governor Brad Little to court for signing a bill that they feel is unconstitutional. KMVT spoke with the organization to see how they plan to win this battle, and what additional obstacles lay ahead.
Mayville said Reclaim Idaho has started a defense fund to fight SB1110 and prove it violates citizens’ rights, and there are now over 1,500 Idahoans from nearly every single county supporting it.
“I believe over 100 towns who have already donated to help cover the legal fees and help cover any other expenses that we occur,” Mayville said.
And if the court challenge fails, Reclaim Idaho has already filed a ballot initiative under the old 18-district rules to undo the new 35-district rule.
Should that challenge, fail, Reclaim Idaho would run an initiative named the Idaho Initiative Rights Act of 2022, he said.
That initiative would roll back initiative requirements to what was last seen in 2012 — requiring signatures from 6% of Idaho’s registered voters, based off the last election, without regard to where those voters live.
Should the law go unchallenged, it would make Idaho’s initiative process one of the most restrictive in the nation, Mayville said. The ACLU of Idaho describes the state’s regulations prior to the bill signing as already being “one of the most onerous ballot initiative processes in the country.”