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History of direct democracy in Kentucky

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The History of Initiative & Referendum in Kentucky began when populist State Senator J. H. McConnell of Otter Pond, Kentucky, successfully pushed a statewide I&R bill through the state senate in 1900. However, the measure failed in the house. Kentucky initiative advocates had to settle for a state law, passed in 1910, establishing the initiative process in most of the state’s cities.

By the 1970s this municipal I&R provision (Kentucky Revised Statutes, Ch. 89) applied to all of the state’s 27 largest cities except Louisville. In 1980, however, the legislature passed a new municipal government law which abolished the provision.[1]

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  1. This state history is based on David Schmidt's book, Citizen Lawmakers: The Ballot Initiative Revolution and is reproduced here with the permission of the Initiative & Referendum Institute.