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Group holds town hall on ballot initiative rights


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IDAHO FALLS – Tuesday night Reclaim Idaho was on stop five of six across Idaho.

Its mission is to bring people together to talk about Idaho’s ballot initiative process by “talking with citizens of all different walks of life, different parties who all want to come together and talk about this issue of constitutional rights,” said Luke Mayville, co-founder of Reclaim Idaho.

In this year’s legislative session, the Senate and House passed Senate Bill 1159.

RELATED | GOP senators broke rank to vote against Idaho’s ‘ballot bill,’ but it narrowly passed

This bill would have drastically changed Idaho’s ballot initiative process, adding stricter requirements to get issues on the ballot.

Gov. Brad Little vetoed the bill, but it put Idahoans and Reclaim Idaho on high alert.

RELATED | Gov. Little vetoes bill that would have tightened requirements for citizen initiatives

“What could happen if the rules change, if the ballot initiative rules change, we could have a big shift in the balance of power in Idaho away from ordinary citizens and towards politicians and lobbyists,” said Mayville.

Reclaim Idaho’s town hall about the issue in Idaho Falls featured many local legislators, on both sides of the issue.

Sen. Mark Harris, R- Soda Springs, doesn’t deny Idahoans have a right to be a part of the initiative process, but he says a lot has changed since the current process was put in the state constitution over 100 years ago, and these rights should reflect that change.

“Population growth in Ada County, Canyon County, half the population of Idaho lives there. The way the initiative process is set up now, signature gatherers only need 18 legislative districts, need to cover 18 legislative districts. That leaves the rest of rural Idaho out of the mix, and we think that can be improved,” said Harris.

This article first appeared on KPVI. It is used here with permission.