Saturday, February 27, 2021

When Legislature fails to act, citizen need to have voice

| February 18, 2021 1:00 AM

I oppose SB1110 that aims to make citizen initiatives all but impossible. I am opposed because:

• The ballot initiative is a right that is guaranteed by Idaho’s constitution.

• Retired Judge Jim Jones said it would be unconstitutional.

• Initiatives have proven to give a voice to rural voters.

• This bill would harm Idahoans.

When a similar bill was introduced in 2019, former Judge Jim Jones said this, “It is odd that some in the Legislature now wish to drive a stake into the heart of that people-driven legislative process.”

Senator Vick claims that rural communities don't have a voice in our initiative process. I disagree. The Medicaid expansion bill passed in nearly every rural county. I believe that this bill has nothing to do with rural voters and everything to do with silencing the will of the people.

This is important to me because for six years, the Idaho Legislature refused to expand Medicaid. I watched as family members and friends went without critically needed healthcare. I can tell you without a doubt that had this new requirement been enacted back then, the effort would have failed. Citizens need to be able to create laws when legislators refuse to help them with something as crucial as healthcare.

Tell your legislators that this is an assault on the constitutional rights of all Idahoans and that you oppose SB 1110.