Idaho Dispatch

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Idaho Asks 9th Circuit to Block Judge’s Decision on Reclaim Idaho Ballot Initiative Effort

By • July 3, 2020

There is a new development in the debate over Reclaim Idaho’s latest ballot initiative.

Recently, the group won a court case before Judge Winmill.

Winmill ordered the state of Idaho to either extend the deadline for gathering signatures for the education initiative and allow it to be done electronically or simply put the initiative on the ballot with the signatures they have already gathered. The state ignored the judge’s order and chose not to do anything.

The state of Idaho has now asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency motion to halt Judge Winmill’s order.

The state contended in court that Reclaim Idaho voluntarily stopped gathering signatures before Governor Little ever gave the stay-at-home order.

Additionally, the state argued that the group had 18 months to gather signatures but didn’t start doing so until six months before the deadline. Judge Winmill disagreed that any requirement existed for the group to start gathering when the process officially began.

Soon after the state of Idaho ignored his original order, he told Reclaim Idaho that they could start gathering signatures on July 9th.

Some lawmakers are unsure how Judge Winmill made the order he did because they say both options would violate Idaho law.

Rep. Tammy Nichols (R-Middleton) told Idaho Dispatch,

 I don’t see how the judge can make the decision he did. Idaho’s signature-gathering process must be done in person and electronic signature-gathering would violate that particular portion of the law. Idaho’s law also requires a certain amount of signatures to be gathered for a petition to be placed on the ballot before the people. Prior to Reclaim Idaho voluntarily ending their own signature-gathering process, they did not gather enough signatures and missed the deadline. A judge can’t order the state to violate its own laws.

However, Reclaim Idaho claims that Governor Little violated their 1st Amendment rights with his stay-at-home order and must provide a way for the group to gather signatures during emergencies.

They released a statement on Facebook on June 3oth stating,

Our opponents are doing everything they can to block our initiative, perhaps because they know that it’s popular with voters. Who would turn down an opportunity to save our schools from deep budget cuts, and to do so with zero new taxes on property and zero new taxes on anyone making under $250,000 per year?

Reclaim’s initiative is meant to raise money for Idaho’s education budget.

The initiative would raise taxes on individuals making $250,000 a year, or $500,000 for a couple. A 3% rate increase from 6.925% to 9.925%.

It would also raise the corporate tax rate from 6.925% to 8%.

Reclaim Idaho says the increases in taxes would add an additional $170 million in revenue for education.

The group also says the initiative would help keep property taxes lower because levies would not be needed if the education budget was funded properly.

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Tags: Ballot Initiative, Education, Reclaim Idaho, Tammy Nichols, Winmill

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