Thursday, July 29, 2021

Reclaim Idaho Files Quality Education Act

| May 3, 2021 9:53 AM

Last week, Reclaim Idaho filed a ballot initiative with the Idaho secretary of state called the Quality Education Act. This initiative would boost funding for K-12 education by well over $200 million annually, paid for by a modest tax increase for corporations and the wealthiest Idahoans.

As the organization launches its campaign for public education funding, they are also preparing a lawsuit against Idaho’s new anti-initiatives law, which was signed by Governor Little on April 17. Reclaim Idaho and other critics of the new law say it gives Idaho the most restrictive initiative process in the nation and makes grassroots initiative campaigns virtually impossible in Idaho. The new law requires campaigns to

collect signatures from 6% of registered voters in each of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts—up from the 18 districts previously required.

In the event that Reclaim Idaho prevails in court the organization will immediately begin a signature drive to place the Quality Education Act on the ballot.

Reclaim Idaho co-founder Luke Mayville spoke of the need for the Quality Education Act:

“Idaho is dead last out of 50 states in education funding per student, but our legislators believe the big problem to be addressed is teachers ‘indoctrinating’ students. What a slap in the face to the teachers of our state. It’s time to stop attacking our educators and to start investing in them.”

In the event that Reclaim Idaho does not prevail in court and the new anti-initiatives law remains intact, Reclaim Idaho will likely put its campaign for education funding on hold and instead launch a signature drive to qualify the Initiative Rights Act for the ballot.

The Initiative Rights Act, filed by Reclaim Idaho earlier this month, would restore the signature requirements that existed in 2012: 6% of registered voters statewide, without regard to where those voters live. For most of Idaho history, there was no geographic-distribution requirement for signature drives. The first such requirement did not appear until 1997.