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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 referendumreferendum,
referral of proposed laws or constitutional amendments to the electorate for final approval. This direct form of legislation, along with the initiative, was known in Greece and other early democracies.
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, 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.


See P. Schrag, Paradise Lost (1999).


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
References in periodicals archive ?
I've been involved in California ballot initiatives for more than 40 years, and the public response to raising the minimum wage to $15 has been one of the strongest at this early stage," said Fred Kimball, owner of Kimball Petition Management in Westlake Village, Calif.
A ballot initiative that would define a fertilized egg as a person is "clearly unconstitutional," the Oklahoma Supreme Court has held.
At Avalon Development, Freeman has fielded questions regarding the water ballot initiatives from a number of mining companies, investment firms and individuals.
There just weren't a lot of surprises as far as the state races and ballot initiatives go," said Wes Bissett, senior vice president for government affairs and state relations for the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.
Look for an analysis of 2005 and 2006 antigay ballot initiatives in the next issue of The Advocate.
Ward Connerly (the conservative African American who spearheaded Proposition 209, the 1996 ballot initiative that California voters passed to stop affirmative action) is currently promoting the Racial Privacy Initiative (RPI) in California to eliminate the collection of racial information on state government forms.
Supreme Court let stand a ruling that barred the state of Montana from excluding corporate participation in state ballot initiatives.
Six state and four local ballot initiatives dealt with the issue, and most of the results suggested strong misgivings about current policy.
Whether or not California and Michigan voters reject school voucher ballot initiatives, the well-funded campaign to use vouchers to wreck public education and church-state separation will go on--and on and on.
A few thousand Indians have spent more than $100 million on lobbying, ballot initiatives, and campaign contributions to turn their quasilegal gambling industry into a fully legal one.
The paper covers goals of the ballot initiatives, funding methods, strategies behind voter-approved measures and barriers that kept others from winning.
It reaffirms the protection under federal legislation and sends a message to other states considering ballot initiatives like proposition 211 that it would be both costly and futile.