The following Press Release was sent to Idaho Dispatch from Reclaim Idaho on August 24:
Boise – Earlier today, in a unanimous ruling, the Idaho Supreme Court struck down Idaho’s controversial new ballot initiatives law, requiring signatures from 6% of registered voters in all 35 legislative districts to qualify for the ballot.
After today’s ruling, Idaho’s previous initiative rules are fully restored. This means that ballot initiative campaigns will be required to collect signatures from 6% of voters in 18 districts.
Reclaim Idaho was represented in court by Ferguson Durham PLLC. The Committee to Protect and Preserve the Idaho Constitution served alongside Reclaim Idaho as a plaintiff in the case.
“Thousands of Idahoans are breathing sighs of relief today,” said Reclaim Idaho co-founder Luke Mayville. “In the face of an assault on the initiative process by the Idaho legislature, our Supreme Court has fulfilled its obligation to protect the rights of every Idahoan.”
Mayville said today’s decision is historic: “Nearly every time in our history that our legislature attempted to eliminate the initiative process, either the governor or the courts stepped up to protect the rights of the people. Today’s decision adds a new chapter to that history, and future generations of Idahoans will look back on the court’s decision with gratitude.”
Local teams of Reclaim Idaho volunteers across the state are now focused on collecting signatures for the Quality Education Act, an initiative that would increase funding for K-12
education by over $300 million annually. Mayville described the need to place the Quality Education Act on the ballot:
“Now that our rights are fully restored, it’s time to exercise them. Just as we worked in 2018 to put Medicaid Expansion on the ballot and secure healthcare for over 100,000 Idahoans, now we will plow forward with our signature drive for the Quality Education Act–an initiative that would give our kids better access to qualified teachers and the skills they need to make a living.”
The Quality Education Act is paid for by a modest tax increase for corporations and the wealthiest Idahoans. The initiative does not raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000 per
year. Individuals earning over $250,000 would pay new taxes only on the income they earn above $250,000. Married couples would pay new taxes only on the income they earn above $500,000.
Idaho ranks last among 50 states in education funding per student. A 2018 report by the State Board of Education found that 1 in 10 Idaho teachers are leaving the profession each year. School districts across the state, especially in rural areas, lack stable funding for a wide range of programs—including programs like welding, carpentry, and agricultural science that provide students with job-ready skills.
Background: Reclaim Idaho is the nonpartisan, volunteer-driven organization that spearheaded the Medicaid Expansion ballot initiative. The measure passed with 61% of the statewide vote. In addition to providing healthcare access to over 100,000 Idahoans, Medicaid Expansion is bringing back over $400 million annually in federal funds to Idaho, shoring up Idaho’s rural hospitals, and creating thousands of jobs around the state.
Tags: Idaho Supreme Court, Quality Education Act, Reclaim Idaho, SB 1110