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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 ?
A citizen initiative in South Dakota, a right-to-work state, would allow "nonprofits and corporate organizations" (including unions) to collect fees from nonmembers.
The Citizen Initiative Review Commission will be supported by donations; no public money is involved except for $75,000 in start-up funds that will be repaid.
Last year, he said, the legislature considered three amendments to the citizen initiative process.
Currently the process is too exclusive, whilst important gains have been achieved by citizen initiatives, such as initiating policy dialogue towards a federal solution, the decision to form a women's committee, lobbying to appoint a human rights expert was the work of significant civil society interventions.
But it is unlikely that she will be the one to relaunch a citizen initiative.
His answer: "An Alliance government led by Stockwell Day would not raise the issue unless forced to do so by a referendum in response to a citizen initiative.
In 1997, the law was defended against repeal, winning by a 60-40 percent citizen initiative.
Another important strategy to consider in the face of a restrictive citizen initiative is the purposeful incurrence of a debt obligation.
In calling for the convention to be held, Governor Pataki recently said issues like term limits, citizen initiative and the ability for citizens to call referendums could become part of the reforms.
The instrument will be a citizen initiative, sponsored by Oregon Right to Die, which will permit "adults to request and obtain prescriptions from doctors to end their life.
Proposition 2, which was a citizen initiative, is much broader, covering combined revenues of essentially all city operations and has the potential to more severely restrict revenue growth.
Twenty-four states, in varying degrees, allow citizens to change state law or the state constitution by obtaining enough valid signatures to place a citizen initiative on the ballot.

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