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The Idaho Legislature places one amendment on the ballot

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March 21, 2014

By Ryan Byrne

On March 20, 2014, the Idaho Legislature adjourned for 2014, unless a special session is called.[1] A handful of legislatively-referred constitutional amendments were proposed, but only one, the Legislative Delegation of Rulemaking Amendment, was approved for the upcoming general election ballot in November. The measure received bi-partisan support and was unanimously approved in both legislative chambers. The legislature's rationale for the amendment is to constitutionalize a law implemented in 1969. That law, like the amendment, empowered the state legislature to delegate rule-making authorities to executive branch agencies and to approve or disapprove the rules devised by those agencies.[2] The Idaho Supreme Court, in a 3 to 2 vote, narrowly upheld the law as constitutional in 1989. To prevent the judiciary from overturning the law in the future, legislators agreed to put the constitutionalization of the matter before voters. Sen. McKenzie (R-13) said that when executive agencies create “rules,” the legislature should have the ability to reject those rules. McKenzie pointed out that since 1990, 4.5% of rules created by agencies have been rejected by the legislature. He argued, “We need to make sure that we don't have the executive or the judicial branch making law.”[3]

Just before the session ended, the Persons Subject to Military Duty Amendment was voted down after a lengthy and contentious debate in the House.[1] The amendment would have redefined who is subject to state militia duty to all "able-bodied persons" who are eighteen years or older. Currently, Section 1 of Article XIV of the Idaho Constitution designates only males between 18 and 45 years old as subject to militia duty.[4]

Two initiated state statutes, the Minimum Wage Initiative and the Medical Marijuana Initiative are still circulating and may appear on the ballot. Both campaigns have until May 1, 2014 to submit 53,751 valid signatures to the Secretary of State.

See also