A lawsuit seeking more time to collect signatures for an education funding ballot initiative and to allow electronic signature gathering for the effort should be thrown out, state officials say.
The Idaho attorney general’s office in a filing late last week in U.S. District Court said the Reclaim Idaho group’s own decisions and delays in taking action caused it to miss the May 1st deadline to gather the signatures needed for the initiative to appear on the November ballot.
The initiative seeks to raise $170 million for K-12 education by raising Idaho’s corporate tax rate and increasing taxes on individuals making $250,000 a year or higher.
The state also argued that Reclaim Idaho is asking the court with its electronic-signature request to “invade the Idaho Legislature’s constitutionally-created authority and create a signature-gathering alternative that is nowhere contemplated by the Idaho Constitution or Code and that has never even been introduced for legislative consideration.”
Reclaim Idaho filed the lawsuit June 6th against Republican Gov. Brad Little and Republican Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, contending emergency orders issued by Little during the coronavirus pandemic unconstitutionally limited the group’s ability to collect signatures.
Reclaim Idaho in the lawsuit said the governor’s statewide stay-at-home order didn’t include any exceptions for the First Amendment-protected process of signature gathering, a form of political speech.
Reclaim Idaho is asking a federal judge to grant a temporary 48-day extension to collect signatures and to allow group members to collect the signatures electronically for the initiative.
A hearing on the case is scheduled for Tuesday. (AP)