Large, Diverse Opposition Postpones Idaho Hearing
Today’s legislative hearing on Senate Bill 1108 in Idaho was begun and then postponed until Monday after running out of time due to so many individuals and groups in attendance to testify against the legislation.
SB 1108 would dramatically increase the difficulty of qualifying an initiative or referendum for the statewide ballot via petition. Currently, citizens must gather signatures from six percent of registered voters statewide to qualify a ballot measure. Under this requirement, only eight citizen-initiated measures have made the ballot in the last 15 years – most notably the three referendums on last November’s ballot, whereby voters rejected three laws passed by legislators.
If SB 1108 were to become law, an arduous statewide petition drive would still be required, but, additionally, initiative supporters would have to run successful petition drives in 18 separate legislative districts. Therefore, the cost of a petition effort would increase drastically and so would the difficulty, since a failure in any one district would sink the entire statewide petition effort.
The only testimony supporting the bill came from a representative of the Idaho Farm Bureau, while numerous individuals, such as conservative activist Rod Beck and activists seeking reform of marijuana laws, as well as representatives of groups from across the political spectrum, including the ACLU, the Idaho Education Association and Tea Party leaders testified against SB 1108.