Defending the Ballot Initiative Process
Many of us, if not all, signed the initiative petition last year calling for the implementation of Medicaid Expansion in Idaho. In 2008, the Affordable Care Act authorized states to expand Medicaid to help close the insurance gap for low income households. Unfortunately, in Idaho, the GOP resisted this change. Consequently, Idaho citizen’s used the initiative process to grant Idaho voters a chance to decide for themselves. The initiative appeared on the 2018 ballot. More importantly, over 60% of Idaho voters approved the measure.
Unfortunately, despite the voter’s expressed will, our republican legislature took steps to kill and restrict the measure. Fortunately, these efforts were mostly blocked. Nonetheless, they did manage to imposed conditions that disqualify many potential beneficiaries. After seeing the power of the initiative process to circumvent the legislature, a group of extreme right-wing law makers took steps to further constrain the ballot Initiative process by making it harder for citizens to gather and validate the required signatures. Although the effort failed, it is likely to be raised again in next legislative session.
Reclaim Idaho is now focusing on preventing the legislature from weakening the Initiative process by making changes that would limit the ability of all citizens to act and be heard.All of us are familiar with Rebecca Schroeder both as a Democratic candidate for the State Legislature and a Medicaid Expansion advocate prior to being named the Executive Director of Reclaim Idaho. Prior to that Rebecca worked tirelessly on behalf of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Rebecca is married to Brock Schroeder and they have a son, Brady.