Opponents of a bill to make it more difficult to put citizen initiatives on an Idaho state ballot are appealing directly to the governor.
On Friday, a state Senate committee approved a proposal by Kootenai County Republican Senator Steve Vick. His bill would require initiative sponsors to collect signatures from at least six percent of registered voters in all 35 legislative districts.
Current law requires six percent from just 18 districts. Vick argues current law allows initiative sponsors to concentrate their signature gathering efforts in urban areas and ignore rural voters.
The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
After that vote, Luke Mayville from the group Reclaim Idaho began an online petition campaign asking the governor to veto the bill, if it gets to his desk. Reclaim Idaho is the group that created the successful 2018 ballot measure to expand Medicaid in the Gem State.
“If Senator Vick and other legislators want to make such a sweeping change to our constitution, they should be willing to propose a constitutional amendment and put their proposal up for a public vote. If we’re going to discuss such a significant change to our constitution, that discussion should not be limited to just two early morning committee hearings held on weekdays. It should take place at community gatherings and public debates and at town hall events in every community across this state," Mayville said.
Opponents of the bill say legislators are unhappy with the initiative process because the public voted for something the legislature refused to consider.
Mayville says the petition was signed virtually by nearly four thousand people in 40 counties during the first 24 hours after it was circulated.