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Idaho Supreme Court to hear arguments on controversial new ballot initiative law

Opponents argue the law, which Gov. Brad Little signed earlier this year, makes it virtually impossible for citizens to get an initiative on the ballot.

The controversial new law that raises the bar for getting citizens' initiatives on the ballot goes before the Idaho Supreme Court next week. The legislature passed Senate Bill 1110, and the governor signed it, during the recent legislative session.

Opponents argue the law makes it virtually impossible to get an initiative on the ballot. Supporters argue increased requirements make the process more fair to voters in rural Idaho. 

Justices will hear their arguments on June 29.

The previous ballot initiative law required signatures of 6% of registered voters in 18 of Idaho's 35 legislative districts. The new ballot initiative law requires signatures of 6% of registered voters in *all 35 legislative districts.

The citizens group Reclaim Idaho filed the challenge against the new law, and the Idaho Supreme Court decided to hear the case. It's the same group responsible for getting Medicaid Expansion on the ballot in 2018 through a signature campaign. Voters ultimately approved that.

During the taping of this week's Viewpoint, Reclaim Idaho Co-Founder Luke Mayville laid out his main argument against the new law, and Republican State Representative Jim Addis laid out his for it.

"We don't think that it should be easy to get an initiative on the ballot. We think that any organization should have to work hard. Volunteers around the state should have to get involved, but you shouldn't make it so difficult that it's virtually impossible," said Reclaim Idaho Co-Founder Luke Mayville.

 "Because, if you claim that the people ought to have a right to put something on the ballot, which our constitution does enshrine that right, but then you turn around and make it impossible to exercise that right, it's not really much of a right at all."

"Just as I applaud our founding fathers on their wisdom behind the Electoral College, I think it's important to allow everyone in Idaho to have a say in the formation of law," said Republican State Representative Jim Addis. "It's very, very important. I believe in the initiative process. I think it's a safety valve for the populace. I just think everyone should be involved in creating statute."

There are two likely outcomes in the Supreme Court case: justices could side with Reclaim Idaho and shoot down the new law, or they could rule the new law stands.

This Sunday morning at 6:30 on Viewpoint on KTVB you can hear more of Luke Mayville's and Representative Addis' stances on the new law and what the plan could be for each side if they lose.

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