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.