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Laws governing local ballot measures in Kentucky

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Laws Governing Local Ballot Measures

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A guide to local ballot initiatives
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Local referendum powers are granted by the Ketucky Constitution but only concerning limited subject matters. Initiative powers on the local level seem to be prohibited by state law.

This article sets out the laws governing local ballot measures in Kentucky. It explains:

  • Which local units of government make the initiative process available to residents.
  • How and whether local units of government, including school districts, can refer local ballot measures (such as school bond propositions) to the ballot.

Types of local government

Local government in Kentucky consists of:

  • Counties: the state is divided into 120 counties.
  • Cities: there are 418 cities in Kentucky. Cities are divided into classes according to population.
First Class: 100,000 or more
Second Class: 20,000 to 99,999
Third Class: 8,000 to 19,999
Fourth class: 3,000-7,999
Fifth Class: 1,000 to 2,999
Sixth Class: Less than 1,000[1]
The cities have different powers according to their class, but none of them can adopt a charter. However, all cities have limited Home rule powers under Kentucky Revised Statute 82.082.[2][3]
  • Cities and Counties also have the option of consolidating governments under one of the forms provided by state law.
Louisville-Jefferson operates as a Consolidated Local Government under Kentucky Revised Statute 67C.
Lexington-Fayette operates as an Urban County Government under Kentucky Revised Statute 67A and the local charter created during the merger process.
Consolidation may also occur as a Charter County under Kentucky Revised Statute 67.825 to 67.875, or as a Unified Local Government under 67.900 to 67.940.[4]
  • In addition, there are 604 special districts and 174 independent school districts.[5]

School districts

See also: School bond and tax elections in Kentucky

Kentucky only allows for elections for bond issues. The Kentucky Constitution gives school districts the right to hold elections freely at any time and without any minimum notice requirement. The law also states that bond issues are limited to new construction and capital improvements. There are no restrictions on selling terms or maturity. However, Kentucky law bans referendums for the building of new athletic facilities.

Initiative process availability

An initiative process is not mentioned explicitly, but seems to be prohibited by Kentucky Revised Statute Section 83A.120 below. The process for referendum is allowed, but is restricted to the limited issues which are established in Section 60 of the Constitution below.

Authority

Constitution

Rules restricting the use of direct democracy are found in:

Statutes

Petitions for referenda are treated in:

Initiative process features

Local I&R Laws in the 50 States
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Source:Local Ballot Initiatives: How citizens change laws with
clipboards, conversations, and campaigns

Initiative process in the top 10 most populated cities

List of Most Populated Cities in Kentucky
City[8] Population City Type Next election
Louisville 602,011 Consolidated city-county No I&R
Lexington 301,569 Charter as urban county government N/A[9]
Bowling Green 58,894 General law No I&R
Owensboro 57,605 General law No I&R
Covington 40,811 General law No I&R
Richmond 31,809 General law No I&R
Hopkinsville 31,419 General law No I&R
Florence 30,687 General law No I&R
Georgetown 29,690 General law No I&R
Elizabethtown 29,044 General law No I&R

Lexington is the only local government in Kentucky with an initiative process for local ballot measures. DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Lexington-Fayette Charter, Art. 14



External links

References