Constitutional referendum change fails in House
By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports
The House on Thursday voted down a proposal that would have asked voters to change the Idaho constitution regarding voter initiatives and referendums.
The proposal would have created a ballot question to require that 6 percent of voters in all of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts sign off on proposed citizen ballot initiatives. Had voters approved it, it would have changed the Idaho Constitution. The proposal mirrors a 2021 law that passed the Legislature. The Idaho Supreme Court deemed that law unconstitutional.
Current law requires organizers to collect signatures from 6 percent of voters in 18 legislative districts before a referendum or initiative can appear on the ballot in the next general election. Voters from all 35 legislative districts then get to vote on that question.
Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, indicated he supported the idea of the amendment, but had concerns about whether the actual wording would have required 6 percent of total registered voters instead of 6 percent of voters in the last election – a much lower bar to clear.
The House voted 39-31 on the amendment, which failed to reach the two-thirds threshold required to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. The measure passed the Senate 27-8 last month.
If passed by the House, the question would have appeared on the November 2024 general election ballot. Lawmakers have another opportunity next session to place measures on that ballot.