Reactions pour in as Gov. Little signs voter initiative bill into law

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

Gov. Brad Little has signed Senate Bill 1110 into law, prompting praise from House Republican leadership, outrage from House Democrats, and the promise of a lawsuit from Reclaim Idaho.

Senate Bill 1110 requires those gathering signatures for ballot initiatives to get sign-on from at least 6 percent of registered voters in all of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts, nearly doubling it from the current 18 districts.

“I’m pleased that the Governor recognizes the importance of a more inclusive signature gathering process,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke in a statement. “With this legislation we can guarantee rural voter participation, whie preserving the integrity of the initiative process that all Idahoans deserve.”

“I’m profoundly disappointed in this blatant disregard for the will of the voters,” said House Assistant Minority Leader Lauren Necochea. ‘This comes just hours after the governor vetoed legislation stripping his emergency powers. I’m disappointed he wasn’t willing to stand up for the power of Idaho voters to have the check on the legislature and executive branch.”

In a press release, Reclaim Idaho, who spearheaded the successful Medicaid expansion ballot initiative in 2018, promised to challenge the new law in court. Read the full press release below.

Idaho Reports will update this post with more reactions throughout the day.

Reclaim Idaho Denounces Governor Little’s Decision to Sign SB1110, Plans Court Challenge

Boise – Today, Governor Little signed SB1110 into law, failing his obligation to protect and defend Idahoans’ constitutional rights.

Senate Bill 1110 changes the requirements to qualify citizen initiatives for the ballot. Campaigns must now collect signatures from 6% of registered voters in all 35 state legislative districts—up from the 18 districts previously required.

By requiring citizens to collect signatures from 6% of registered voters in all 35 of Idaho’s legislative districts, Idaho now has the most restrictive initiative rules in the nation.

“In the face of massive public opposition to this legislation, the governor has turned his back on the people and sided with special-interest groups,” said Luke Mayville, co-founder of Reclaim Idaho.

Reclaim Idaho plans to challenge the new law in court. “Clearly, this anti-initiative legislation is unconstitutional,” Mayville said. “It makes it virtually impossible for everyday citizens to exercise their initiative rights. This fight is far from over, and we now look to the courts to uphold the Idaho Constitution.”

Five former Idaho attorneys general—four Republicans and one Democrat—recently issued a public statement against SB 1110:

“The Constitution clearly states that the people reserve the right to ‘initiate any legislation’ and to reject ‘any act’ passed by the Legislature. Procedural rules designed to frustrate those rights are contrary to the Constitution.”

Last week, Reclaim Idaho filed a ballot initiative named the Idaho Initiative Rights Act of 2022. Reclaim Idaho plans to run the initiative only in the event that Senate Bill 1110 survives court challenges. If the initiative were enacted, Idaho citizens would have the opportunity to place an initiative on the ballot by collecting signatures from 6% of Idaho’s registered voters, without regard to where those voters live.

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