SB 1159 is an attempt to curtail democracy by significantly changing the requirements for placing an initiative or referendum on the ballot. Current law requires that petition gatherers must collect signatures from 6% of the eligible voting electorate from 18 out of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts within 18 months. SB 1159 imposes significant burdens by changing that process to require petition gatherers to collect signatures from 10% of the eligible voting electorate from 32 out of the 35 legislative districts within six months. The most problematic provision of SB 1159 is the imposition of an even more restrictive geographic signature requirement that will place significant burdens on the exercise of Idahoans’ free speech rights. And it does so despite the lack of any provision in the Idaho Constitution that suggests that the power to place a proposition on the ballot may depend on where a voter lives, while also ignoring that the number of eligible voters in Idaho’s legislative districts varies by as much as 23,000 voters. That’s a variation of almost 40%. Ultimately, SB 1159 jeopardizes the rights of Idaho voters to engage in the legislative process promised to them under the Idaho Constitution and their right to vote promised under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

 

Sponsors

Sen. C. Scott Grow, Reps. Sage Dixon & Jason Monks

Status

Senate State Affairs Committee

Session

2019

Bill number

Position

Oppose

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