From the January 2002 Idaho Observer:

Federal Court reverses 1997 initiative/referenda law; paves way for J.A.I.L.

POST FALLS -- Idaho Federal District Judge Lynn Winmill recently overturned the state legislature's emasculation of the initiative/referenda process that was signed into law by former governor Batt in 1997. Judge Winmill's decision is expected to restore Citizens' power to bypass the special-interest driven legislature in an attempt to pass popular legislation through the Citizen initiative/referenda process.

"Thanks to Judge Winmill, we have a golden opportunity to get judicial accountability legislation on the ballot this year and passed into law by popular vote," said Idaho J.A.I.L. Chapter President Rose Johnson of Post Falls.

Johnson was frustrated in her attempts to get the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.) passed last year because she was forced to work with Senator Clyde Boatright (R-Rathdrum) who was not interested in judicial accountability. Also, by the time the senator's people had amended the bill originally submitted by Johnson, most of its teeth had been removed. Had the bill passed all the legislative hoops and been signed by the governor, it wouldn't have had the effect on judicial accountability originally intended, Johnson explained.

Idaho J.A.I.L. is planning a petition drive

"Between Don Harkins of The Idaho Observer and Jailhouse Lawyer Scott Thurston, myself and other J.A.I.L. members and associates, we have contact with activists all over the state. We are going to mobilize the state for a petition drive and we will travel from county to county this spring and we will secure the 43,685 signatures necessary to get J.A.I.L. for judges on the ballot for November," said Johnson.

J.A.I.L. will be holding an organizational meeting Friday, January 18. The purpose of this meeting is to organize the petition drive. "This is the best news we have had since Rose started the J.A.I.L. chapter in Idaho. The 1997 emasculation of initiative and referenda laws made it all but impossible for Citizens to bypass the legislature to make laws -- which was the purpose of the exercise, in my opinion. Pass or fail of J.A.I.L. will now be on the shoulders of those of us who are motivated to see that J.A.I.L. for judges become law," said Harkins.

(See ad at left for time and date of meeting. Activists are encouraged to attend).

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