Petition form: If at least 100 voters request that the city clerk prepare an initiative petition, the city clerk must prepare the petition form and publish a notice alerting residents to the petition. The requests must be in writing, directed to the clerk, and include a copy of the proposal. The petition, once drafted, may be signed over a period of 15 day and may only be signed in the city clerk’s office. Signers must make an oath affirming that they are a qualified elector.
Third Class City Code, Article X, (b), Sections 1031 & 1032
Signature requirements: The petition must contain signatures equal to 20% of the last vote for mayor.
Third Class City Code, Article X, (b), Section 1033
Legislative action/Election: The initiative process is indirect. This means that the city council has an opportunity to approve the measure before it gets placed on the ballot. If the city council fails to pass the bill, it must call a special election to be held concurrent with the next election at least ninety days away.
Third Class City Code, Article X, (b), Sections 1034 & 1035
Notary requirement: There is no notary requirement, per se, but each signer must make an oath before the city clerk affirming his or her eligibility to sign.
Third Class City Code, Article X, (b), Section 1032
Majority required: Only a simple majority is required.
Third Class City Code, Article X, (b), Section 1037
Legislative tampering: The local council may not repeal an initiated ordinance for two years without a vote of the people. This even applies to initiative proposals approved by the council. In order to repeal a measure before two years have elapsed, the council must refer a repeal measure to the ballot.
Third Class City Code, Article X, (b), Sections 1038 & 1040
Re-attempting initiatives: No ordinance initiative may be re-submitted to voters more than once in three years.
Third Class City Code, Article X, (b), Section 1039
Subject restrictions: No ordinance may be proposed by initiative that could not (if passed as usual by the council) be targeted for veto referendum. The initiative may not be used to repeal an ordinance that has already been subjected to a veto referendum. The subjects exempt from veto referendums, and thus prohibited for initiatives, are as follows:
- 1. Ordinances required under state law
- 2. Ordinances providing for appropriations or tax levies
- 3. Ordinances providing for the "exercise of the right of eminent domain"
- 4. Ordinances providing for the "preservation of the public peace, health, morals, safety,...[for] the exercise of the police powers of the city government, and for the prevention and abatement of nuisances"
- 5. Ordinances providing for an election to increase city debt and other ordinances that require a referendum vote for passage
- 6. Ordinances providing for sewer construction and for road maintenance.
Third Class City Code, Article X, Sections 1030 & 1050