Opinion: SB 1110 allows representatives to silence constituents

This week the Idaho House passed Senate Bill 1110, a bill already passed in the Senate and designed to make getting citizen initiatives on the ballot practically impossible.

In one of the worst legislative sessions ever, and our so-called representatives seem to be doing everything they can to silence we the people.

Unfortunately, over the years, our legislators have increasingly restricted our ability to correct their oversights. Back in 2018, we passed Medicaid expansion by ballot initiative — after our so-called leaders refused to listen to our pleas to expand access to affordable healthcare.

Make no mistake, SB 1110 is a punitive measure. Supporters of this bill pretend as if they’re doing it for our benefit, but all of their arguments fall apart under the least bit of scrutiny.

They claim to want to keep us from passing too many ballot measures. But Idahoans have shown themselves to be judicious. Only relatively few ballot initiatives have passed in more than 100 years. Those that have passed remedy oversights by the Legislature. The reality is that they just don’t want to listen to us.

They claim that the new requirements are meant to “help” rural districts. When you look at the history, though, and the reality of collecting signatures, stricter requirements actually harm rural districts. In fact, SB 1110 silences rural districts to a greater extent than more populated areas.

Finally, proponents say that they are trying to limit special interest money in signature gathering. As someone who volunteered and worked with other volunteers on ballot initiatives, I can attest that this is not a big problem here in Idaho. But with the passage of SB 1110, it could become a problem. Why? Because this law is so restrictive that the only people who will be able to afford to make a big signature push are special interests with deep pockets.

Our so-called representatives are lying to us. They are trying to silence us. It’s wrong.

As they are so fond of pointing out, we live in a representative republic. But they conveniently forget that this means they are supposed to listen to the voice of the people and represent our interests. These days, though, our legislators are more interested in grandstanding through speeches aimed at an extremist base, ignoring the voices of a majority of citizens and lining their own pockets while their constituents struggle.

SB 1110 is disgraceful and Gov. Little must veto it.

The Bonneville Democrats April Pizza and Politics will feature Luke Mayville, co-founder of Reclaim Idaho, speaking about SB 1110, carried on Facebook Live Saturday at noon.

Miranda Marquit, Master of Business Administration, is a nationally recognized financial expert, writer and speaker. She is the state committeewoman for the Bonneville Democratic County Central Committee.