Changes in 2013 to laws governing ballot measures
| Initiative law|
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Ballot title challenges
| Laws governing|
local ballot measures
- The legal right of citizens to initiate statutes, amendments, or veto referendums.
- Signature and distribution requirements for placing measures on the ballot.
- Regulations governing signature collection and petition circulators.
- Campaign finance requirements for initiative, referendum, and recall campaigns.
- Administrative rules, involving filing deadlines, fiscal analyses, petition forms, etc...
Note: This list is based on the National Conference of State Legislatures I&R Legislation Database. This database is only periodically updated. For a smaller but more up-to-date list, see our Ballot Law Bill Tracker. For the status of a single bill, click the title to view its state bill status page.
| = This legislation is still pending.|
= This legislation was carried over to the next session.
= This legislation was approved.
= This legislation was defeated.
Laws approved in 2013
As of May 2013, there are no changes to report on for ballot laws in 2013.
Legislation by state
The following bills were introduced in the Alabama State Legislature:
HB 487: Amends the state constitution to provide for popular initiatives and that the legislature may offer alternative proposals.
HB 95: Creates Fair Ballot Commission, requires secretary of state to provide explanation of measures and post on website, and creates Alabama Informed Voter Act.
SB 12: Proposes an amendment to the state constitution authorizing the legislature to provide by general law for the recall of elected state officials.
SB 68: Creates Fair Ballot Commission, requires secretary of state to provide explanation of measures and post on website, and creates Alabama Informed Voter Act.
The following bills were introduced in the Arizona State Legislature:
HB 2007: Requires literature or advertisements for statutory initiatives and their official ballot titles to contain the following disclosure: "Notice: Pursuant to Proposition 105 (1998), this measure can never be changed in the future if approved on the ballot except by a three-fourths vote of the Legislature and the change furthers the purpose of the original ballot measure, or by referring the change to the ballot."
HB 2233: Requires the auditor general to conduct a special audit to evaluate the costs of each measure that is voter protected pursuant to article IV, part 1, section 1, Constitution of Arizona, and report the results to the governor, the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives, and provide a copy of this report to the secretary of state.
HB 2282: Divides recall elections into a primary and a general election. Makes various changes to recall procedures.
HB 2290: Relates to election recall; relates to reimbursement.
HB 2305: Requires a political committee that files petitions with the secretary of state to organize and group the signature sheets and affords a heightened evidentiary standard for any challenger to the petition circulators if the political committee conducts an arm’s length background check on its circulators.
HB 2314: Includes referendums in the public hearing requirement for initiatives.
HB 2366: Requires that initiative and referendum petitions include an impartial title on the petition.
HCR 2017: Allows the state legislature to repeal voter approved ballot measures that do not specifically claim protection under the Voter Protection Act of 1998. Also provides that all voter approved initiatives have a subsequent vote eight years after the initial vote.
HCR 2033: Requires that all ballot measures relating to state expenditures be reauthorized in an election eight years after the date they were originally passed.
SB 1247: Removes the current requirement for notarization of petitioner's statement on petition.
SB 1260: Requires the secretary of state to provide the official serial number to the applicant on a stamped copy of the application along with the specific number that is the minimum number of signatures required for the initiative or referendum to appear on the ballot and the required filing date for a petition to appear on the ballot.
SB 1262: Applies existing contribution limits to contributions made toward support the effort to gather signatures on a recall petition.
SB 1263: Requires that for a statewide ballot measure or question, or a statewide or legislative recall, all persons who are paid circulators must be registered as circulators with the secretary of state before circulating petitions. Requires the secretary to establish the procedure for registering paid circulators and receiving service of process.
SB 1264: Modifies and adds requirements with regards to the initiative, referendum and recall petition process.
SB 1336: Establishes an Arizona Election Commission to act as the investigatory, compliance and enforcement officer for campaign finance laws that apply to political committees supporting or opposing the recall of a public officer officer, or supporting the circulation of petitions for ballot measures.
SB 1416: Modifies the petition signature requirements for new political parties and initiative and referendum measures.
SCR 1019: requires initiative and referendum petition signatures to be apportioned among at least five different counties. Requires at least 40 percent of the total minimum number of required petition signatures to be collected from counties other than the two most populous counties.
The following bills were introduced in the Arkansas General Assembly:
HB 1187: Declares that it is unlawful for a public servant or a governmental body to expend or permit the expenditure of public funds to support or oppose a ballot measure.
HJR 1010: Amends the constitutional requirements for amending the Arkansas Constitution.
SB 821: Makes sweeping changes the initiative and referendum process.
SB 822: Requires all ballot question committees to file a final financial report regardless of whether a ballot question committee, individual, public servant, or governmental body received contributions or made expenditures in excess of $500.
SJR 15: Proposes an amendment to the Arkansas constitution concerning the powers of initiative and referendum. (bill text not specific)
SJR 16: Require ballot issue groups to collect at least 75% of the valid signatures required in order to receive additional time to gather extra signatures once the petition has been turned in to the secretary of state. This measure is on the ballot as the Arkansas Ballot Measure Signature Requirements Amendment.
The following bills were introduced in the California State Legislature:
AB 354: Makes technical, non-substantive changes to provisions regarding an initiative or referendum petition, requiring that each section bear the name of a county or city and county allowing only qualified registered voters of that county or city and county to sign that section of the petition.
AB 400: Requires a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition circulated by a paid circulator who is paid by a committee to include a disclosure statement identifying the persons from whom the committee received the 5 largest cumulative contributions in support of the measure and the name of their employer, if 2 or more of these contributors have the same employer. Requires this disclosure statement to be updated as specified.
ACA 6: Increases the vote requirement of votes cast for the electors to amend the Constitution by an initiative measure to 55%. Permits the electors to repeal a previously adopted initiative or legislative amendment to the Constitution, including certain subsequent amendments to the constitutional amendment, by an initiative measure passed by a majority vote.
AB 510: Requires that a committee file a report if they pay any amount to an individual for his or her appearance in an advertisement to support or oppose the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot measure if the advertisement states or otherwise communicates that the individual is a practitioner or member of a profession having expertise or specialized knowledge relating to the subject of the measure.
AB 857: Deletes provisions providing that a person who is a voter or is qualified to vote in California is authorized to solicit signatures on an initiative or referendum petition, and requiring that person to declare under penalty of perjury that he or she is a voter or is qualified to register to vote in the state.
AB 121: Requires a corporation that has shareholders located in this state and that makes a contribution or expenditure to, or in support of or in opposition to, a candidate, ballot measure campaign, or a signature-gathering effort on behalf of a ballot measure, political party, or political action committee to issue a report on the political expenditures of the corporation in the previous fiscal year, and to notify shareholders prior to each political contribution.
SCA 6: Proposes an amendment to the Constitution to prohibit an initiative measure that would result in a net increase in state or local government costs, from being submitted to the electors or having any effect unless and until the Legislative Analyst and the Director of Finance jointly determine that the initiative measure provides for additional revenues in an amount that meets or exceeds the net increase in costs.
The following bills were introduced in the Colorado General Assembly:
HB 1100: Requires that ballot titles be in plain language.
The following bills were introduced in the Connecticut General Assembly:
HJR 1: Provides for direct public participation in the legislative process.
HJR 14: Provides for direct public participation in the legislative process.
HJR 15: Provides for direct public participation in the legislative process.
HJR 2: Allow for direct initiative and referendum; permits direct initiative and referendum.
The following bills were introduced in the Florida State Legislature:
H 397: Limits word count on ballot summaries. Deletes authority of state attorney general to revise ballot titles and summaries if the joint resolution is defective.
H 7013: Limits word count on certain ballot summaries. Revises sites and amount of time available for early voting.
S 668: Limits word count on certain ballot summaries. Deletes judicial authority over ballot titles and summaries revised by the attorney general.
The following bills were introduced in the Hawaii State Legislature:
HB 1445: Constitutional amendment providing for the recall of elected public officials.
HB 1447: Statutory provision for the recall of elected public officials. Dependent upon ratification of HB 1445.
HB 300: Requires the publication of information on proposed constitutional or proposed charter amendments that appear on an election ballot in pamphlet and electronic form.
SB 771: Amends the State constitution to provide for initiative, referendum, and recall.
The following bills were introduced in the Idaho State Legislature:
SB 1026: Amends existing law relating to initiative and referendum elections to revise provisions relating to the form of certain petitions; revises provisions relating to certain signature sheets; revises provisions relating to the number of signatures required on certain petitions; revises provisions relating to certain petitions and signature sheets.
SB 1108: Amends existing law relating to initiative and referendum elections to revise signature requirements. Adds geographic distribution requirements. Revises provisions relating to the form of petitions to include legislative district on the signature sheet.
The following bills were introduced in the Illinois State Legislature:
HJRCA 12: Provides for the recall of all state executive branch officers and members of the general assembly. Changes the signature requirements for affidavits and petitions for recall of the governor.
The following bills were introduced in the Maryland State Legislature:
HB 221: Prohibits a person from willfully and knowingly preventing, hindering, or delaying a person who has a lawful right to sign a petition from signing a petition through the use of fraud, duress, force, threat, menace, or intimidation.
HB 236: Requires that a question that relates to the enactment of a legislative or congressional districting plan that was petitioned to referendum include a map of the State that shows the boundary lines for the legislative or congressional districts that are included in the legislative or congressional districting plan.
HB 49: Prohibits a sponsor or circulator of a petition from disclosing to the public specified information that an individual includes on a petition; prohibits public inspection of a petition after the petition is filed with the State Board of Elections or a county board of elections.
HB 493: Requires a petition signature page to contain a specified notification and be completed on a specified form; alters the information an individual must provide to sign a petition; establishes specified requirements for an online petition system.
HB 867: Authorizes members of the general assembly to use public resources to promote the success or defeat of a ballot issue.
SB 367: Prohibits public inspection of a petition after the petition is filed with the State Board of Elections or a county board of elections.
SB 673: Requires a petition signature page to contain a specified notification and be completed on a specified form; alters the information an individual must provide to sign a petition.
SB 706: Alters the earliest date by which a nonemergency law may take effect; alters the date by which petitions to refer a law to referendum must be filed.
The following bills were introduced in the Massachusetts State Legislature:
HB 556: Relates to state recall elections.
HB 602: Relates to limiting contributions to ballot question committees.
HB 627: Requires the state secretary to promulgate regulations governing the conduct of paid signature gatherers for ballot questions, designed to achieve and maintain security from forgery and fraud in the collection of signatures on petitions for ballot questions and names thereon.
HB 67: Adds the following to the state constitution: "No initiative petition shall propose a constitutional amendment that would restrict the rights set forth in this constitution to freedom and equality, or the right of each individual to be protected by society in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property, according to standing laws."
SB 13: Adds the following to the state constitution: "No initiative petition shall propose a constitutional amendment that would restrict the rights set forth in this constitution to freedom and equality, or the right of each individual to be protected by society in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property, according to standing laws."
The following bills were introduced in the Michigan State Legislature:
HB 4046: Prohibits being paid for each petition signature collected, and require petition circulators to wear identification badges.
HJR 5: Protects legislation making appropriations by reducing spending, from referendum.
SB 10: Requires the name of individual or organization providing compensation to a circulator of a ballot question petition to be printed on the front of the petition.
SJR C: Protects legislation making appropriations by reducing spending, from referendum.
The following bills were introduced in the Minnesota State Legislature:
HF 1762: Prohibits the use of public fund to promote or defeat ballot questions.
HF 196: Constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature to submit a constitutional amendment to the people.
HF 93: Constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature to submit a constitutional amendment to the people.
SF 1597: Prohibits the use of public fund to promote or defeat ballot questions.
The following bills were introduced in the Mississippi State Legislature:
HB 455: Provides a procedure for the recall of state and local elected officials.
HB 965: Allows a petition proposing an initiative measure to be signed by means of an electronic or digital signature.
HCR 28: Revises voter initiative procedure to conform signature requirements to number of existing congressional districts.
The following bills were introduced in the Missouri State Legislature:
HB 117: Changes the laws regarding petition circulators and the duties of the Secretary of State regarding initiative and referendum petitions.
HB 661: Specifies that any issue to increase any tax, license, fee, or levy requiring voter approval under Article X of the Missouri Constitution must be placed on the ballot only on the general election day.
HJR 10: Proposes a constitutional amendment requiring a four-sevenths voter majority approval of an initiative petition related to crop production, livestock, or agriculture in order for it to take effect.
- Changes in 2014 to laws governing ballot measures
- Changes in 2012 to laws governing ballot measures
- Changes in 2011 to laws governing ballot measures
- Changes in 2010 to laws governing ballot measures
- Changes in 2009 to laws governing ballot measures
- Changes in 2008 to laws governing ballot measures
- Changes in 2007 to laws governing ballot measures