Resolution could slow down citizen initiatives

Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) -- A measure that would make it harder for citizens to put initiatives on the ballot passed its first committee Tuesday.

House Joint Resolution 5 would require citizens to gather signatures from at least three-fourths of House districts in order to get a measure on the ballot. That's 30 districts.

Right now signatures only have to come from two-thirds of House districts, or 27 districts.

The proposal would also require sponsors to get signatures equal to at least 7 percent of the votes cast in each House district.

The measure is sponsored by Rep. Bill Williams, R-Saxman.

It doesn't change the requirement that the total number of signatures gathered be equal to at least 10 percent of the votes cast in the last general election. Based on the last election, that's 23,285 signatures.

The resolution passed the House State Affairs Committee, but still must clear the Judiciary and Finance Committees before it can go to the full House for a vote.

Because the proposal is a change to the state constitution, it must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate. If that happens, the proposal would go before voters in 2004.

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