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House, Senate Dems decry bill making initiatives, referenda tougher

House and Senate Democrats came out strongly against SB 1108 today, the bill proposed by the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation to make it tougher to qualify an initiative or referendum measure for the Idaho ballot. “This bill is part of a troubling trend that makes it easier for lawmakers and government officials to ignore the will of the people,” Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, the Senate minority leader, declared at a Statehouse press conference this morning. “Today, we call on Idahoans of all political affiliations to speak out against Senate Bill 1108.”

Ironically, the Senate bill shares the same bill number as the controversial 2011 bill, SB 1108, that sought to roll back Idaho teachers’ collective bargaining rights and make a series of other changes; that measure was rejected by Idaho voters in November in the referendum vote on Proposition 1.

The Democratic lawmakers noted that more than half a dozen bills already have been introduced this session to revive portions of the voter-rejected Proposition 1 law. Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, the Senate assistant minority leader, said, “Not only is this legislature ignoring the people, but SB 1108 seeks to restrict the people's ability to reject bad legislation, such as the Luna Laws.” He said, “Idaho Democrats will dedicate our efforts to defeating these pieces of legislation and assure that the voice of the people is not stifled. But we cannot do this alone. We call on every citizen of our state to contact your legislators.”

Meanwhile,the Democrats noted that most of their “VOTE Initiative” package of bills designed to make voting easier in Idaho have languished without moving forward in this year’s session. You can read the Democrats’ full statement 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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