Yesterday, the Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill that will make it pretty much impossible to get an initiative on the ballot.
The bill now makes its way to the governor.
Here’s the thing: Idaho already has one of the toughest ballot initiative laws in the country. The people promoting this new legislation are telling their constituents it will help protect small and rural counties from being the victim of proposals that favor the more urban areas. But let’s be clear about what a ballot initiative does. It simply puts an issue on the general election ballot so the voters can decide on the issue. That’s it.
The most recent ballot initiative we had in this state was for Medicare expansion. It was an issue that couldn’t make its way through the statehouse, so a group called ReClaim Idaho started a petition drive to get the issue on the ballot so voters could choose. They did. And now we have expanded Medicare coverage for Idaho citizens and as I understand it, it’s been a successful program that has helped 1000s of Idahoans get the health care they need. There’s another initiative drive coming that would increase funding for Idaho schools.
There’s also an initiative drive in the works that would put marijuana legalization on the ballot. It’s my opinion, the far right is making the initiative process difficult because they don’t want marijuana in this state. Listen I’m no fan of marijuana. I hate the stuff. That doesn’t mean I get to dictate what other people do. Every state that surrounds Idaho has some sort of legal marijuana option. Including Utah. (We are officially more conservation here than in Utah, which I think is weird) The initiative process, again, only puts an issue on the ballot and gives Idaho voters the opportunity to voice their opinion. That’s it.
I think the far right in this state is so worried about marijuana, they are going to make it impossible for the people to have a vote on marijuana and every other issue that might come up.
I will guarantee the people pushing this legislation have never tried to get something on the ballot. They don’t need to, they’re in the majority. Their issues can make it through the statehouse. The initiative process gives the minority an option for getting their issues in front of the voters because the majority is in control of the statehouse. The bill the house passed this week silences the voice of the people, which goes against everything on which this country and this state is founded.
I have signed a petition requesting Governor Brad Little veto that bill rather than costing Idaho taxpayers millions in court fees, where it will likely be overturned. You can sign that petition here or call the Governor’s officer here.
Your voice deserves to be heard.
So sayeth the Queen!