Idaho Board Oks Legal Fees In Lost Ballot Initiative Case

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — State officials on Tuesday took an initial step to pay $152,000 in legal fees to the winning side after Idaho lost a court challenge to a new law making it harder for voters to get initiatives on the ballot.

The Idaho Board of Examiners comprised of Republican Gov. Brad Little and two other statewide elected officials voted to send the bill to the Constitutional Defense Council for a final OK.

Republican lawmakers earlier this year approved the initiative measure with no Democratic support. Little then signed into law the measure requiring signature-gatherers to get 6% of registered voters in each of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts in 18 months.

The Idaho Supreme Court in August rejected the law, saying the legislation was so restrictive it violated the state’s constitution. It also ordered the state to pay Reclaim Idaho's attorney fees.

That ruling caused the ballot initiative process to revert to requiring signatures from 6% of registered voters in each of 18 legislative districts in 18 months.

The Constitutional Defense Fund, created in 1995 to defend Idaho's sovereignty, has paid out more than $3 million in lost court battles over the years and has a current balance of just under $1.3 million.