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Inland Journal, August 1, 2019: Idaho Initiative Process

Thursday on the Inland Journal, we hear the debate about citizen initiatives in Idaho. Tuesday night in Coeur d’Alene, the group Reclaim Idaho held a town hall meeting to talk about legislative attempts to change the way initiatives qualify for the ballot. Reclaim Idaho was the organization that filed and campaigned for the last successful statewide initiative in the Gem State, Proposition Two, a Medicaid expansion measure that voters approved in 2018.

During this year’s legislative session, lawmakers moved to make it more difficult to qualify citizen initiatives for the ballot, causing Reclaim Idaho to call foul. Two of the bills were moved through the legislature. There were some very close votes, which is unusual, considering 80% of the seats are held by Republicans. When they went to Governor Brad Little’s desk, he vetoed them. Reclaim Idaho thinks the concept will be back next year, which is why it is sponsoring a series of town hall meetings statewide to alert the populace. As we said, Coeur d’Alene was a town hall venue this week, Sandpoint last week.

During this program, we’re going to hear from the head of Reclaim Idaho and from two state legislators from Coeur d’Alene, both of whom appeared at Tuesday night’s forum, which we’re told was packed by about 140 people. One was former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Jones, who spoke for the citizens’ legal rights to file initiatives in Idaho.