Idaho Legislative Control May Be Worse Than Most Realize

Our sister blog, the CALDWELL GUARDIAN, has posted an interesting initiative from the neighboring state of Montana.

Folks there are tired of the behavior of their legislators and seek to change the constitution to prevent legislators from changing or repealing laws passed by voters.

We Idahoans have passed both term limits and a 1% property tax limit that have been ignored and repealed by the legislature. Voters have a short memory however because there was no major backlash at the arrogant move following an Idaho Supreme Court decision that declared “laws passed by the citizens are no different than those passed by the legislature–the legislature has authority to repeal either.”

To make it even worse, unlike Montana, citizen voters in Idaho cannot even petition to amend the constitution. Only the legislature has that right. They can pass an amendment with a two-thirds approval of both houses and a simple majority of voters. Voters have no similar right to force a vote on any constitutional issue.

Section 1. Article III, section 4, of The Constitution of the State of Montana is amended to read:
“Section 4. Initiative. (1) The people may enact laws by initiative on all matters except appropriations of money and local or special laws.
(2) Initiative petitions must contain the full text of the proposed measure, shall be signed by at least five percent of the qualified electors in each of at least one-half of the counties and the total number of signers must be at least five percent of the total qualified electors of the state. Petitions shall be filed with the secretary of state at least three months prior to the election at which the measure will be voted upon.
(3) The sufficiency of the initiative petition shall not be questioned after the election is held.
(4) The people reserve to themselves the powers to repeal or amend all laws passed by initiative.
(5) The legislature may not amend or repeal an initiative statute except by another statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electors unless the initiative statute permits amendment or repeal without the approval of the electorate.”

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