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At least 15 dead as severe weather sweeps across central US; on Memorial Day, IA labor leaders honor fallen workers; Medical center installs microgrid to safeguard clinic power supply; 'Second look' laws gain traction, but MS sticks to elderly parole; Will summer heat melt New Mexicans' cravings for ice cream?

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One congressman cites ways Biden could get more support from communities of color. A new Louisiana law reclassifies two abortion medications as controlled substances. And Ohio advocates work to boost youth voter turnout.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

ID bill could add restrictions to ballot initiative process

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Thursday, March 21, 2024   

Idaho lawmakers are once again looking to change the ballot initiative process in the state.

With a little more than a week left in the session, House Bill 652 is being considered in the Senate. It would do a number of things to change qualifications for ballot measures brought by citizens.

That includes requiring monthly signature verification from local county clerks and a two month review period when people who signed the ballot could remove their signatures.

Sam Sandmire, volunteer organizer with Babe Vote, noted that it also moves the deadline to gather signatures from April 30 to March 31.

"In Idaho, where we have winter months going through late spring sometimes, this would be extremely burdensome," said Sandmire, "because bad weather through the winter months can make door knocking to collect signatures difficult, especially for elderly volunteers."

Lawmakers in support of the bill say it would add transparency to the process.

Sandmire said the Idaho Constitution guarantees the right to bring initiatives to voters.

"There is one part of the Constitution that provides for direct democracy action and that is the citizen ballot initiative," said Sandmire. "It states that citizens can propose and pass laws."

Sandmire said there have been other attempts by lawmakers to restrict the ballot initiative process, but the Idaho Supreme Court struck down at least one of these laws.

She said a majority of people have testified against the current bill as well.

"It's extremely frustrating to have these bills brought forward, passed, signed into law," said Sandmire, "when citizens are overwhelmingly opposed."

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.




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