Idaho Falls Town Hall Draws Capacity Crowd; 9 Legislators
For Immediate Release — August 13, 2019
Idaho Falls — The fifth stop on Reclaim Idaho’s #IdahoSpeaks Town Hall tour drew more than 80 people including nine state legislators representing districts all over Eastern Idaho: Senators Steve Harris (R-Soda Springs), Dave Lent (R-Idaho Falls) and Jim Guthrie (R-Inkom) along with Representatives Jerald Raymond (R-Menan), Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls), Randy Armstrong (R-Inkom) and Doug Ricks (R-Rexburg) participated in the discussion with attendees. Representatives Britt Raybould (R-Rexburg) and Chris Abernathy (D-Pocatello) also attended. It was the largest legislative turnout since Reclaim Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Town Hall earlier this month. To date, seventeen state legislators have attended the #IdahoSpeaks Town Hall series representing twelve different legislative districts.
“Lawmakers are definitely taking notice and I think they are seeing just how unpopular their efforts to further restrict Idaho’s initiative rights are,” said Luke Mayville, Co-Founder of Reclaim Idaho. “The people of Idaho spoke out loud and clear last session and they continue to be engaged on this issue because they fear restrictions are coming back in 2020.”
Former Idaho State Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Jones, who has been traveling on the #IdahoSpeaks tour, spoke again in favor of preserving the right.
A Post Register story earlier this year shows thousands of Idahoans sent emails and letters to lawmakers opposing SB1159 which would have all but repealed Idaho’s initiative rights. Only a “handful” of residents wrote in favor of the measure according to the article.
“Idahoans have shown over a 107-year period to be very judicious and responsible when it comes to exercising their ballot initiative rights,” Jones said. “In my mind, if the process isn’t broken, there is no reason to try and fix it. We have a century’s worth of experience to show Idaho’s citizen ballot initiative works just fine. We should leave it alone.”
Idaho’s citizen ballot initiative right was added to the state constitution in 1912. Since then, fewer than three-dozen initiatives have actually made it on the ballot. A little over a dozen have succeeded.
Background: Reclaim Idaho is the nonpartisan, volunteer organization responsible for getting Medicaid Expansion on the November 2018 ballot. The measure passed with 61% of the statewide vote. In addition to providing healthcare access to tens of thousands of Idahoans, Medicaid Expansion is expected to bring back $400 million in federal funds to Idaho, shore up Idaho’s rural hospitals, and create thousands of jobs around the state.