Idaho Group That Pushed For Medicaid Expansion Seeks Input On Citizen Initiatives

Amy Pratt personally collected more than 1,000 signatures to help get Proposition 2 on the ballot. It's the first time she's been politically active and she has no plans of stopping. CREDIT: JAMES DAWSON / BSPR
File photo. Amy Pratt personally collected more than 1,000 signatures to help get Proposition 2 on the November 2018 Idaho ballot. CREDIT: JAMES DAWSON / BSPR

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The group that sponsored Idaho’s successful Medicaid expansion initiative last year is now working on a new project. Reclaim Idaho is trying to preserve the rights of citizen groups to propose initiatives and collect signatures to put them on the ballot.

The group is holding a town hall meeting Tuesday night in Coeur d’Alene.

This year, Idaho lawmakers considered two bills that would have made initiative sponsors work harder to get a measure before voters. Both would have increased the number of voter signatures needed and reduced the amount of time allowed to collect them. Both were approved by both houses of the legislature, in some cases by close votes. Gov. Brad Little vetoed both.

Reclaim Idaho’s Rebecca Schroeder expects the issue will be on the legislature’s agenda again next year. She says the group wants voters to be well versed on the bill so that they can let legislators know what they feel.

The group has been sponsoring town hall meetings across the state. Meetings have been held in Boise and Sandpoint. Tuesday’s forum will be in Coeur d’Alene.

Schroeder says state Representatives Paul Amador and Jim Addis have committed to attend.

“The town hall is really not focused on them. It’s focused on the issue,” she said. “So they will have the opportunity to explain their position on the issue and why they voted the way that they did. But the bulk of the content of this town hall is really going to come from the audience.”

Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Jones is scheduled to speak in favor of preserving citizen initiative rights.

Amador and Addis both voted against one version of the initiative legislation and for the bill that many considered a compromise. Senator Mary Souza is due to provide a paper outlining her position, to be read at the event. She voted for both bills.

The forum will start Tuesday at 6:30 in the Coeur d’Alene Library.

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