Idaho Senate GOP OKs new ballot initiative hurdles

idaho capitol squareAll but three Idaho Senate Republicans favored a bill creating additional hurdles for citizen initiatives, arguing requiring signatures be gathered by legislative district will protect rural residents’ voices.

Monday’s vote was 25-10, sending the measure to the House.

The bill, pushed by the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, requires signatures be gathered from 6 percent of registered voters in 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts to qualify an initiative for the ballot. Currently, Idaho requires signatures from 6 percent of voters statewide, without a geographic requirement.

The Farm Bureau fears future initiatives to add animal cruelty provisions where groups can gather signatures in populated urban areas whose residents may be more receptive to such measures.

Democrats argued changes were unnecessary and would lead to lawsuits, much as a similar 1997 law that the courts rejected.  (AP)

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