Montana Gender Quota for Legislature Initiative (2014)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
Text of measure
The ballot question would have read as follows:
|“||CI-114 would amend Article V, Section 1 of Montana’s Constitution to require that Montana’s Legislature be comprised of exactly one-half men and one-half women. The amendment does not differentiate between legislators serving in the Montana House of Representatives and the Montana State Senate. Consequently, it requires an equal number of men and women within the entire Legislature, regardless of the chamber in which they serve.
[ ] YES on Constitutional Initiative CI-114.
|Section 1. Power and structure. (1) The legislative power is vested in a legislature consisting of a senate and a house of representatives. The people reserve to themselves the powers of initiative and referendum.|
(2) The legislature shall be composed of fifty percent men and fifty percent women, as may be provided by law.
John Marshall, an online businessman, writer and former libertarian candidate, sponsored the initiative. He said, “Let’s be the first state in the nation to set quotas by gender. We’ll catch the attention of the nation. It will benefit the state economically, socially and culturally in the future.”
John Marshall, the initiative’s sponsor, made the following arguments for gender quotas in the state legislature:
- "Women are now the majority of the population. They are now the majority of the workforce. So by happenstance, by destiny, by default, call it what you will, they're the rightful heirs to the reigns of political power in this country."
- “We’ll be a better state and have a stronger government and have a stronger democracy … The states were originally set up to be laboratories in the experiment of democracy. We can do all kinds of things. Why not be an experiment in that case and further the ideals that were set at the founding of the nation in helping democracy grow and prosper?”
- "Women are better at sitting down and negotiating and compromising and coming up with legislation than men."
Other arguments in favor of the measure included:
- Rep. Franke Wilmer (D-63), who is also a political science professor at Montana State University, noted that about half the countries in the world have electoral quotas and that, in some instances, these quotas have “radically and positively changed” those countries. Nonetheless, Wilmer did not endorse the initiative.
- Rep. Pat Ingraham (R-13)
- Rep. Pat Ingraham (R-13) argued, "You need willing hearts that are willing and able to do it (serve in the Legislature). You can’t legislate that heart. You have to have to have that heart and commitment. I just don’t think mandating those things are a wise decision."
Path to the ballot
Supporters needed to collect valid signatures from ten percent of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial general election, including ten percent of the voters in each of the forty legislative house districts. In total, supporters were required to collect 48,349 valid signatures. Those signatures needed to be submitted by the petition drive deadline on June 20, 2014.
The initiative did not meet the signature threshold to make the ballot.
- Montana Secretary of State, "Proposed 2014 Ballot Issues," accessed January 29, 2014
- Montana Secretary of State, "BALLOT LANGUAGE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL INITIATIVE NO. 114 (CI-114)," accessed March 4, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Twin Falls Times-News, "Proposal Would Require Equal Number of Men and Women in Montana Legislature," November 11, 2013
- Beartooth NBC, "Western Montana Man Proposes Legislative Gender Equity," November 12, 2013
- PolicyMic, "Montana's Plan to Set Gender Quotas For State Legislature Could Be a Model For the Nation," November 13, 2013
- Missoulian, "Hot Springs man wants gender equity in Montana Legislature," November 7, 2013
- The Montana Standard, "State ballot initiatives: The dirty dozen?," June 30, 2014
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