initiative

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initiative

initiative, the originating of a law or constitutional amendment by popular petition. It is intended to allow the electorate to initiate legislation independently of the legislature. This direct form of legislation, together with the referendum, was known in Greece and other early democracies. It is practiced in Switzerland. In the United States the initiative was recognized as early as 1777 in the first constitution of Georgia. It was subsequently adopted by a number of states and may apply also on local and city government levels. There are two kinds of initiative, direct and indirect. In both kinds of initiative a certain number of signatures (usually from 5% to 15% of the electorate in the district concerned) must appear on the petition that proposes the constitutional amendment or legislation. In direct initiative the proposed law is voted on in the next election, or in a special election, after a petition with the required number of signatures has been filed with state or local officials. In indirect initiative the petition goes directly to the legislature and reaches the people only if the legislature fails to enact it into law. In the 1990s ballot initiatives became increasingly popular as various interest groups sought to win approval of measures they supported.

Bibliography

See P. Schrag, Paradise Lost (1999).

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initiative

Government
a. the right or power to introduce legislation, etc., in a legislative body
b. the procedure by which citizens originate legislation, as in many American states and Switzerland
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In several states, voters have the opportunity to make law directly through the use of the ballot initiative, a tool of "direct democracy." (1) Citizens have registered their opinions at the ballot box to legislate collectively on issues such as bilingual education, gun control, abortion, cigarette taxes, physician-assisted suicide, and same-sex marriage.
(9) Although twenty states currently have legislation requiring a fixed percentage of energy created from renewable sources, only Washington and Colorado have used the ballot initiative as a means of enacting such legislation.
The state GOP had kept its word and didn't introduce a redistricting ballot initiative, but when Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor, he promoted an initiative to turn the process over to an independent commission.
Pugh, in part to head off the ballot initiative, agreed to back the legislation.
He honed his strategy at the "Road Ahead" conference, an annual gathering for progressive ballot initiative activists in Las Vegas.
Michigan had two major ballot initiative victories: one that created an independent redistricting commission, and a second, multifaceted initiative that enacted same-day registration, automatic registration, a constitutionally mandated post-election audit, and enhanced voting rights for veterans and military and overseas voters.
Doug Ducey said Monday that Invest in Education Act supporters who blame him for the downfall of the ballot initiative need schooling on how government works.
An Idaho group made up of state and local political leaders have launched a statewide effort to oppose a ballot initiative seeking to legalize so-called "historical horse racing."
We then compare the minimum wage changes implemented via ballot initiative to those passed by state legislatures.
A man named Alastair Mactaggart, who is a real estate developer, spent more than 3 million dollars and secured more than 600,000 signatures on a ballot initiative. Ballot initiatives are petitions that are put to a public vote after receiving a certain number of signatures.