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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Montana Constitutional Amendment Re: Initiatives

We all know how initiatives are treated by the Idaho Legislature.  The last time around was TERM LIMITS passed by the people and promptly disposed of in the first ten minutes of session.  The good people of Montana are fed up with such antics by their legislature and are going for a Montana Constitutional amendment.  Here it is and it would be a good one for Idahoans to put forward:



Section 1. Article III, section 4, of The Constitution of the State of Montana is amended to read:
“Section 4. Initiative. (1) The people may enact laws by initiative on all matters except appropriations of money and local or special laws.
(2) Initiative petitions must contain the full text of the proposed measure, shall be signed by at least five percent of the qualified electors in each of at least one-half of the counties and the total number of signers must be at least five percent of the total qualified electors of the state. Petitions shall be filed with the secretary of state at least three months prior to the election at which the measure will be voted upon.
(3) The sufficiency of the initiative petition shall not be questioned after the election is held.
(4) The people reserve to themselves the powers to repeal or amend all laws passed by initiative.
(5) The legislature may not amend or repeal an initiative statute except by another statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electors unless the initiative statute permits amendment or repeal without the approval of the electorate.”

A like effort in Idaho would put a stop to what happened to our last effort to implement term limits. 

 The photo in this post was taken in the Montana House chamber.  The painting is a C. M. Russel and all the furnishings are original dating back to the days of statehood formation.  The wolf-dog was put their by Mr. Russel as he did not like the Speaker of the House.  The Speaker was left-handed and every time he looked over his shoulder he saw that snarling dog


  1. I really like this...if the Legislature wants to screw around with the people's initiative then they have to send it back for voter approvals of their changes.

    We voted for term limits, we voted for 1% property tax and the toadies in the Legislature dismantled both of these initiatives approved by a vote of the people.

  2. Sounds like a good idea to me. This way there's no way for legislators to say "This radical modification of the initiative is what people really wanted when they voted for it." If a group of citizens can make their case to the people to get something passed I don't see why the legislature can't do the same with a referendum to make changes to what the voters approved.

  3. As an add on to my previous comment, the whole concept of an elected body is good but if there issues that are important enough or so politically divisive the people want to sidestep the elected body it seems that they should respect that and remember that they govern through consent of the governed.

  4. I have received word from my friend Dave Frazier about the initiative process in Idaho is little more than an advisory vote of the people.

    Unlike Montana, Idaho citizens have no constitutional authority to petition to change the Idaho Constitution. Only the Idaho Legislature has that right and it has to pass with a 2/3rds majority in both houses.

  5. After reading the Boise Guardian post by David Frazier relating to this, it would seem we here in Idaho don't have a lot to be happy about. We as citizens can't even petition for the constitutional amendment that would be necessary to make such a change. That would require being initiated by a 2/3 vote of the legislature, then approved by a majority of the electorate. I guess the point to chew on here is how important your informed vote for your legislative member is. Recent history has emphatically shown there isn't anything else even here in the Great State of Idaho.


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