Initiated state statute

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An initiated state statute, also known as an initiative statute, is a new law that a state adopts via the ballot initiative process. The most common form of initiated state statute is when groups collect signatures and once those signatures are collected, election officials place the measure on the ballot for a vote. A less common form is the indirect initiated state statute. While there are important differences between an initiated state statute and an initiated constitutional amendment, they are not always clearly distinguished, and often both are referred to as simply "initiatives" or "propositions."

Twenty-one states allow citizens to proposed new state statutes via initiative.


Main article: Indirect initiative statute

In the indirect form, initiative sponsors collect signatures and once the signatures are collected, the measure is taken up by the state legislature in their state. The legislature has these options:

  • Enact the measure as written in the petition.
  • Refuse to act on the measure, in which case it goes on the ballot.

In some states, the picture is slightly more complicated. In these states, which include Maine and Washington, the state legislature has a third option:

  • The Legislature can write an alternative version of the proposed initiative; in this case, the initiated measure and the legislature's version of it both go on the same ballot where their respective fates are determined by the voters.

Other types of ballot measures

Other types of ballot measures that appear in multiple states are:

Some related terms:

See also