Utah Supermajority for Hunting Initiatives, Proposition 5 (1998)

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Utah Proposition 5, also known as the "Resolution Establishing Wildlife Numbers", appeared on the November 1998 statewide ballot in Utah, where it passed, with 56.1% in favor. It was one of six statewide ballot measures that year in Utah. All six measures, including Proposition 5, were legislative referrals.

The language on the ballot said:

Proposition 5 amends present provisions of the Utah Constitution regarding the power of the people of the state to initiate legislation and submit it to a vote of the people for approval or rejection by majority vote. This proposition requires a two-thirds vote in order to adopt by initiative a state law allowing, limiting, or prohibiting the taking of wildlife or the season for or method of taking wildlife.

Challenged in court

The Initiative & Referendum Institute filed a federal lawsuit against Proposition 5 on October 23, 2000, Initiative & Referendum Institute v. Herbert in the United States District Court for the District of Utah on the grounds that Proposition 5 violates the First Amendment for a state to impose a 2/3 vote requirement only on a certain class of initiatives--that is, Utah was engaging in "viewpoint discrimination." The district court ruled against the plaintiffs on September 11, 2001. The plaintiffs then on June 26, 2002 appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, where they also lost. In early 2007, the plaintiffs appealed to the United States Supreme Court. According to a statement filed with the court by the I&R Institute asking the country's highest court to take the case, "The [Utah state] Senate sponsor [of the measure] candidly explained that the "reason for this [resolution] is to basically make it much more difficult in the State of Utah to do an anti-hunting, anti-fishing type initiative."

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