From the April 2002 Idaho Observer:
Top Ten Lousiest Excuses Used by Idaho Legislature to Overrule the Will of the PEOPLE
by Tom Simmons
#10 -- The Initiative Process is an attempt to turn our republic into a democracy.
FACT: The Initiative Process is a part of our constitution and is ONE of the rights that the people reserved to themselves. Why didn't you attack the process itself rather than the results of the process? Why didn't you sponsor a constitutional amendment to repeal the Initiative clause from the constitution?
#9 -- I was not responsible for introducing the repeal bill. However, my constituents did not approve the original initiative in 1994. As a representative of the people, I MUST follow the will of my constituents.
FACT: I suppose you get to pick just WHEN you follow the will of the people and when you argue that the people just don't understand what legislators deal with. You should have never gotten the opportunity to vote on this issue. It's analogous to finding a suitcase full of stolen money and arguing that you would never have stolen the money, but now that you found it you are justified in keeping it. You should have been absent and excused.
#8 -- I issued a press release asking for input on this issue and got very little opposition to the repeal of Term limits.
FACT: This same representative was a regular contributor to Idahoans Against term Limits. Think she was really unbiased?
#7 -- Term Limits would cause too much of a turnover in government.
FACT: The average career in Idaho government is only slightly longer than term limits allow anyway. Term limits would prevent the cronyism that exists today in government.
#6 -- Term Limits diminish the pool of qualified candidates.
Fact: On the contrary, term limits enhance the pool by allowing new blood to enter the political realm. If there are no opponents for the incumbent, he wins by default. If he is opposed by a lesser qualified opponent, and HE IS THAT GOOD, he will win with a simple write-in campaign.
#5 -- The Term Limits initiative only passed by a 59% majority.
FACT: When was the last time you heard of an elected official stepping down because HE only won election by a mere 59%?!
#4 -- Since the original initiative in 1994, subsequent votes have indicated dwindling support for term limits.
FACT: Each of the votes on term limits was a different question regarding term limits. They were not votes on the same question. One was only an advisory vote. It is quite normal for voters to get tired of being questioned about the same issue over and over. Besides, when was the last time you remember an elected official stepping down because his constituents' support had dwindled slightly?
#3 -- The 1994 term limits initiative was forced upon the people by forces outside the state of Idaho.
FACT: Did those outside forces mark the ballot for the voters of Idaho, as well? Are you suggesting that voters are smart enough to elect YOU, and could not possibly be bamboozled, but too dumb to realize they are being manipulated by outside forces, when they enact term limits?
#2 -- The 1994 Idaho Term Limits Initiative media campaign was bought with money coming from outside the state of Idaho.
FACT: So are most of our legislators. Sounds as if you are suggesting the people can be bought, but elected officials can't.
AND...the number ONE LOUSIEST EXCUSE Used by Idaho Legislature to Overrule the Will of the PEOPLE is:
#1 -- The legislature is on an equal footing with the people and has the power to override a citizen initiative.
FACT: In Luker v. Idaho, (1943), the Idaho Supreme Court held that the legislature and the people are on equal footing. The legislature has the power to override an initiative because of this. It is pointed out in this court case, and many others, that there are legitimate reasons why the legislature has this power. Citizen initiatives may be constitutionally unsound or statutorily or fiscally impossible. However, the 1994 Term Limits initiative has been found to be sound, both constitutionally, and statutorily. Although the legislature has the POWER to repeal an initiative without legitimate reason, they do NOT have the moral authority. To do so is an ABUSE of power.
One final note.
The legislature inserted an emergency clause in the act that repealed Idaho term limits. What was the emergency? It's called cronyism. If the legislature had not inserted the emergency clause in the act, the repeal would not have taken effect until July 2002. Term Limits would have been in effect for the upcoming Primary election. The only legitimate reason to invoke an emergency clause is for the immediate health and welfare of the state, such as attack from a foreign country on Idaho soil, or natural disaster. Under our present circumstances the emergency was not for the welfare of the people, it was for the welfare of those legislators who did not want to lose their power, or their jobs in the legislature.
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