Ballot initiatives debated at town hall meeting

Ballot Initiatives Debated

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The debate over whether to make changes to  Idaho's law that allows citizens to get signatures to put initiatives on the ballot was front and center in Idaho Falls Tuesday night. A group called 'Reclaim Idaho' organized the event. 

A large crowd was on hand at the Senior Citizen's Center. 

 Several Eastern Idaho legislators were there to take questions as well. Last legislative session a bill was passed  that would have required more signatures from more districts to get an initiative on the ballot, but the governor vetoed it.

Supporters of the bill said they were not opposed to initiatives, but said rural areas could be ignored. All the focus on getting signatures could be on large population counties like Ada that has nine legislative districts.  

Right now, the initiative process only includes gathering signatures from 18 legislative districts.

 "There's 35 legislative districts in the state of Idaho and what we're seeing now is a population growth especially in Ada County and Canyon County,"  says Senator Mark Harris of Soda Springs. 

  Former Idaho Attorney General Jim Jones says he has not seen any initiatives passed that hurt rural areas. He said recent initiative supporters have struggled to get enough signatures under the current rules, and to increase requirements would be against the spirit of the initiative process.

 " The Medicaid folks had a really hard time getting all the signatures, but I'm not complaining about that." said Jones. "I  think that's about as it should be. But I think to make it tougher would be unconstitutional and Ii think it would be thrown out in a court challenge, " he added.  

Tonight's event was the fifth town hall across Idaho put on by Reclaim Idaho.

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