Truth in Governance

Wed, Jul 14 by Anonymous

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Of the 45 states whose legislatures hold sessions in 2010, 27 of them have adjourned for the year, and 5 more will wrap up before the end of the month. Of the more than 80 bills dealing with the initiative and referendum process in various states, 51 of them would have reduced citizens’ initiative rights. Thanks to the work of activists in our coalitions, only 3 bills reducing citizen’s rights have passed and become law.

Bans on Productivity Pay

Thu, Sep 17 by Anonymous

Eight states - Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Oregon - ban or restrict paying people who collect signatures on a ballot initiative, referendum or recall petition based on their productivity, or the number of signatures they collect. Payment-per-signature allows citizens greater certainty in judging the cost of a petition effort. Moreover, in states that have passed such bans, the cost of successfully completing a petition drive has risen considerably, sometimes more than doubling.

For some 140 years, Wyoming’s largest county has been run by the three-member board known as the Sweetwater County Commission. Come the fall of 2010, there could be four vacant commission seats up for election if a group of area residents get their wish. A group of non-partisan residents have been working for months on a petition drive that aims to let voters decide if the commission should be expanded from three members to five. The group spearheading the petition drive is asking that a special election be scheduled for Nov. 3 to decide the issue.

Area residents are collecting signatures on a petition to place protecting natural resources and wildlife as a top priority in the County Comprehensive Plan. Petitions are located at several local businesses, and petitioners plan to turn in the petition at the June 11 town meeting.

Read the story from the Jackson Hole News & Guide

Residency Requirements

Tue, May 5 by Anonymous

Residency requirements are one of the most frequently imposed restrictions on the initiative process. These laws require that someone circulating a petition for an initiative, referendum, or recall effort be a resident of the state, county, or locality that the petition is aimed at. Supporters of such requirements claim that they are needed to reduce fraud and insure that circulators can be found if signatures are challenged.

Wyoming's 80 Year Struggle for Initiative Rights

Mon, Apr 20 2009 by Anonymous

Wyoming’s initiative and referendum pioneer was State Rep. L. C.
Tidball of Sheridan. In the early 1890s Tidball was one of the first state
legislators in the nation - possibly the very first - to introduce a bill to
amend a state constitution to provide for statewide I&R.

State Balloting Process

Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

The application must be filed with the Secretary of
State. A fee of $500 must accompany the application. After the
application is filed, the Secretary of State will hold a conference with the
sponsors to discuss problems with the format or contents, fiscal impact to
the state, and the initiative amendment process. The sponsor may then
amend the initiative language. If the proposed bill will not be amended
the committee of sponsors shall submit the names, signatures, addresses
and the date of signing of one hundred (100) qualified electors to act as

Ballot Qualifications & Schedule

Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

Date Initiative language can be submitted: Anytime

Signatures are tied to vote of which office: Number of votes cast in last
general election.

Next general election: 2010

Number of votes cast in last general election (2008): 256,035

Net number of signatures required: 15% of all votes cast in the last general
election (38,406)

Distribution Requirement: 15% of votes cast in at least 2/3 of the counties.

You have a statutory Initiative & Referendum process. Citizens can pass laws they write or suspend a statute passed by the Legislature by collecting enough petition signatures to place the statute on the statewide ballot for a decision by the voters. Unfortunately, voters do not yet enjoy any process for passing a constitutional amendment by Initiative.


See the results of a poll on support for statewide initiative & referendum here.