The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation has brought in a new version of its bill to make it tougher to get initiatives or referenda on the Idaho ballot, this time requiring signatures to come from 6 percent of residents of 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts, rather than from 22 of the 35 legislative districts. The new bill is otherwise identical to the group’s earlier measure. The Senate State Affairs Committee voted this morning to introduce the new version, but only after Sen. Elliiot Werk, D-Boise, said he’s heard from his constituents “a deep-seated anger with these kinds of attempts to lessen the ability of the people to petition us,” and Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, noted that a 9th Circuit court decision cited by the Farm Bureau doesn’t indicate the courts would uphold such a restriction, which likely would land the state back in court. “I have some confidence that there’ll be a judicial opportunity for review should the Legislature adopt this approach,” Davis said.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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