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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 ?
In fact, the commissioners are moving in a direction that would give themselves the power to block any ballot initiative created by the people of Lane County - people like you and me - from being voted on at all.
A ballot initiative that would define a fertilized egg as a person is "clearly unconstitutional," the Oklahoma Supreme Court has held.
This Note considers whether and how restrictions on the subject matter of ballot initiatives implicate the First Amendment.
Of course, conservatives are pushing their own set of ballot initiatives again this year.
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.
Some of those ballot initiatives can tie their hands.
Supreme Court upheld race-conscious admission practices of the University of Michigan Law School, conservative-sponsored ballot initiatives during the up, coming 2004 elections will urge voters in Michigan and other states to outlaw racial preferences.
Grants will not be awarded to hemp-related projects, state ballot initiatives, or political campaigns.
Supreme Court let stand a ruling that barred the state of Montana from excluding corporate participation in state ballot initiatives.