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Idaho has stake in Washington open-records case

Idaho has much at stake in Washington’s big U.S. Supreme Court case over whether referendum petition signatures should be public or not. “Our initiative and referendum statute is very similar to Washington’s and Oregon’s,” said Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, at whose request Idaho joined 22 other states in filing “friend of the court” briefs backing Washington’s position - that the signatures remain public.

“I can’t think of something any more public, that should be public, than somebody signing an initiative petition that is basically using the legislative power reserved to the people,” Ysursa said. “It’s part of an open and transparent process, just like (legislators) voting on a piece of legislation would be. That was our basic reason to join in, and the other states that have initiative and referendum seem to agree with us.” The 23 states, which also include Oregon, Utah, Arizona and Colorado and are being led by Ohio, are among a long list of parties who’ve filed supporting briefs on one side or the other in the case, from the American Conservative Union to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The high court will hear arguments in the case on Wednesday. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com, and read the states’ amicus brief here.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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