Delaying Enactment of Initiatives to July 1 Makes January Termination of Ballot Question Committees Unfair

While trying to sort out the chaos wrought by the Legislature’s repeal of Initiated Measure 22 and its subsequent multipronged tinkerings, I just discovered a significant problem with Senate Bill 59, the new law that will delay the enactment of any voter-approved ballot measure until July 1 following the statewide vote.

The intent of SB 59 is to allow the Legislature to fiddle with, hamstring, or dispose of any voter-approved initiative before it can take effect. Logically, victorious ballot question committees will want to stick around through the Legislative Session immediately following the election in case they need to rally supporters and lobby legislators not to undo the will of the people.

Ballot question committees used to be able to remain in existence until they had disposed of all funds and property and paid all debts. However, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs got that changed with 2016 HB 1036, which requires all ballot question committees to file termination papers by the first Monday of February. This year’s SB 54 moves that termination date up to the last Friday in January. That’s usually before the deadline for submitting bills and well before most bills work their way through the Legislature.

The 2017 Legislature’s willingness to sue and bogusly invoke the emergency clause to repeal IM 22 shows that ballot question committees can’t stand down until after the Legislative Session. Delaying the enactment date of ballot measures to July 1 provides all the more reason that ballot question committees must be allowed to remain operative past the current statutory deadline.


4 Responses to Delaying Enactment of Initiatives to July 1 Makes January Termination of Ballot Question Committees Unfair

  1. The unconstitutional mess that was the Measure Initiated #22 that dark money from out of state was used to hoodwink our stupidest voters just proves beyond a doubt that initiated measures should be banned.

    Democracy credits were the most corrupt idea ever! Why did the libbies not try to restore those with a law bill? Because they couldn’t hoodwink everybody when the unconstitutional poop had to stand alone.

  2. Darin Larson

    Unfair, Cory? Unfair to whom? The legislature could not have designed this system to be any more fair to themselves than this.

    After you go through the arduous process of getting an initiated measure put together and jumping through legal hoops for over 18 months and the voters approve it, you wait 7 or 8 more months for it to be effective. During this later time, your committee shuts down (violation of freedom of speech, duh!) and then the legislature, aka our overlords, decide if it is worthy legislation. Thank you to our royal protectors!

  3. Good point Cory! I wish you could have been with us in Pierre this session as a legislator or a lobbyist. That point needed to be raised in committee.

  4. Mark, I wish I had made this connection between SB 59 and last year’s required BQC termination. We need to come back and fix this in the 2018 Session. Really, as long as the Legislature can come back and repeal any ballot measure, the committees that sponsor them ought to be allowed to remain in existence.

    Darin, exactly.

    Grudz, you’re trying to distract us. Quit beating that horse and address the issue. Voter initiatives are a proper check on Legislative arrogance and ignorance. Voters should be able to organize and sustain resistance to Legislative overreach. (I feel a freedom of association argument coming on!)