Former chief justice delivers 16,000 signatures to governor’s office urging veto on initiative bill

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    Jim Jones stands in front of Gov. Brad Little's office before handing over a petition with 16,000 signatures calling on the governor to veto a bill expanding requirements for ballot initiatives.
    Former Chief Justice Jim Jones stands in front of Gov. Brad Little's office before handing over a petition with 16,000 signatures calling on the governor to veto a bill expanding requirements for ballot initiatives. (Courtesy of Shevawn Von Tobel)

    A former chief justice of the Idaho Supreme Court delivered a petition with 16,000 signatures to Gov. Brad Little’s office asking that the governor veto a bill that would add more requirements for Idahoans to get an initiative on the ballot, according to a press release from Conservation Voters for Idaho.

    Senate Bill 1110, which passed its final legislative hurdle on Wednesday, would require organizers of a ballot initiative to collect signatures from 6% of voters in each of the state’s 35 legislative districts. 

    Current law requires signatures from 6% of voters in 18 legislative districts.

    The bill still needs to be approved or vetoed by Little before it becomes Idaho law.

    “People are concerned about Senate Bill 1110, which will make it almost impossible to get an initiative or referendum on the ballot,” said former Chief Justice Jim Jones, during a press conference Thursday at the Statehouse.

    Signatures on the petition represent people from 200 Idaho towns, according to the press release.

    “It’s not a fight between the rural voters and the urban voters,” said Jones, who served as chief justice from 2015 to 2017 and Idaho attorney general from 1983 to 1991. “It’s a fight between the people and the lobbyists. We want the governor to veto this legislation.”

    Little vetoed a similar bill the Legislature passed in 2019. That bill cut the amount of time allotted to Idahoans to gather signatures for a ballot initiative and required more signatures from voters in more legislative districts.

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    Christina Lords
    Christina Lords is the editor-in-chief of the Idaho Capital Sun and has been a professional journalist covering local and state government since graduating from the University of Idaho in 2009. A Pocatello native, Lords is a fifth-generation Idahoan who served as a reporter at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News and the Post Register in Idaho Falls and served as assistant editor for the Idaho Press in Nampa. She also led the Idaho Statesman in Boise for two years before turning to nonprofit journalism. She has 14 writing awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Idaho Press Club and UISAPA, including first-place writing awards for general reporting, column writing and editorial writing. In her free time, Lords loves nerding out to Ken Burns documentaries, dancing to live music and exploring new roads.