BOISE -- Agriculture interests and beer distributors were victorious in a Senate committee whose Republican members backed raising hurdles for initiative proponents to get measures before voters.

The State Affairs Committee voted 7-2 along party lines for the plan requiring signatures be gathered from 6 percent of voters in at least 18 of Idaho's 35 legislative districts to qualify an initiative, provide they also equal 6 percent of voters statewide.

Now, Idaho requires signatures from 6 percent of voters statewide.

The Idaho Farm Bureau wants these changes to block groups from pushing animal cruelty initiatives, while the Idaho Beer and Wine Distributors Association fears an initiative effort to upend Idaho's state liquor store system.

Democratic Sen. Elliot Werk predicted lawsuits would accompany what he believes is an effort to marginalize urban voters.

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