Voters in Latah and Benewah counties value their citizen initiative rights. In 2018, local volunteers worked hard to qualify Medicaid expansion for the ballot, and the initiative passed in District 5 with 66 percent of the vote.
The proponents of this bill are wrong to assert that rural voters don’t currently have a voice in the initiative process. The Medicaid expansion initiative won the majority of votes in nearly every rural county in Idaho
Representative Troy voted “no” two years ago on a very similar bill called Senate Bill 1159. Please, once again, vote ‘no’ to protect the initiative rights of Idaho citizens.
Senate Bill 1110 would make it virtually impossible for any grassroots initiative to qualify for the ballot. It is already extremely difficult to qualify an initiative for the ballot in Idaho. It requires signatures from 6 percent of registered voters in each of 18 districts. SB 1110 would make the process much, much harder by requiring 6 percent of signatures not just from 18 districts but from all 35 of Idaho’s districts.
The ballot initiative is the constitutional right of every Idaho citizen. It’s a right that was enshrined in our state constitution over a century ago to give ordinary citizens a voice in their government. Senate Bill 1110 bill amounts to an attempt to revoke one of our most cherished constitutional rights.
The 18-district requirement was established in 2013. In the eight years since then, 15 initiatives have been attempted and only two made the ballot. Thirteen of 15 attempts were blocked under the current rules.
I write to implore Rep. Heather Scott to vote “no” on Senate Bill 1110. The bill would make it virtually impossible for ordinary citizens to propose legislation through the initiative process. Two years ago, commenting on a very similar bill that would have deprived Idahoans of their ability to propose such legislation, she wrote that the bill amounted to “suppressing the ideas of the people,” and she wondered why the Legislature was “afraid to debate these ideas of the citizens.”
Please email Representative Scott’s office at email@example.com and urge her to protect our rights to propose legislation through the initiative process.
Please consider contacting your Idaho State Senator and ask them to vote no on these two bills:
House Bill 332 which will be a tax rebate amounting to, on average, $78 for most Idaho tax payers and $8,863 for the top 1% income tax payers. Idaho will likely lose $389 million in federal funds from the American Recovery Plan Act, due to the provision that for every $1 in state tax cut, the federal funds to the state are reduced $1. These federal funds are needed for Idaho schools, roads, and other infrastructure. Idaho ranks 50th in K-12 per student funding. References: Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, March 16, 2021 (idahocfp.org) and Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (cbpp.org)
Senate Bill 1110, which makes it impossible for ordinary citizens to pass an initiative, like Medicaid expansion which was successfully passed recently. Only large, massively funded organizations will be able to afford to hire enough people to get the signatures required.
William Brudenell, Boise