Utah, USA, local Popular or citizens initiative and authorities counter-proposal [PCI+] - Initiative Petition

General Typology

Instrument
Popular or citizens initiative and authorities counter-proposal [PCI+]
Location
Utah, USA
Political level
local
Local Name:
Initiative Petition
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

Article VI, Section 1. [Power vested in Senate, House, and People.]
(1) The Legislative power of the State shall be vested in:
(b) the people of the State of Utah as provided in Subsection (2).
(..)
(b) The legal voters of any county, city, or town, in the numbers, under the conditions, in the manner, and within the time provided by statute, may:
(i) initiate any desired legislation and cause it to be submitted to the people of the county, city, or town for adoption upon a majority vote of those voting on the legislation, as provided by statute; (..)


References: Constitution Utah (accessed Sept. 20, 2017)

References: Utah Election Code 20A (accessed Sept. 20, 2017)

20A-7-501 Initiatives.

(1)

(a) Except as provided in Subsection (1)(b), a person seeking to have an initiative submitted to a local legislative body or to a vote of the people for approval or rejection shall obtain legal signatures equal to:

(i) 10% of all the votes cast in the county, city, town, or metro township for all candidates for President of the United States at the last election at which a President of the United States was elected if the total number of votes exceeds 25,000;

(ii) 12-1/2% of all the votes cast in the county, city, town, or metro township for all candidates for President of the United States at the last election at which a President of the United States was elected if the total number of votes does not exceed 25,000 but is more than 10,000;

(iii) 15% of all the votes cast in the county, city, town, or metro township for all candidates for President of the United States at the last election at which a President of the United States was elected if the total number of votes does not exceed 10,000 but is more than 2,500;

(iv) 20% of all the votes cast in the county, city, town, or metro township for all candidates for President of the United States at the last election at which a President of the United States was elected if the total number of votes does not exceed 2,500 but is more than 500;

(v) 25% of all the votes cast in the county, city, town, or metro township for all candidates for President of the United States at the last election at which a President of the United States was elected if the total number of votes does not exceed 500 but is more than 250; and

(vi) 30% of all the votes cast in the county, city, town, or metro township for all candidates for President of the United States at the last election at which a President of the United States was elected if the total number of votes does not exceed 250.

(b) In addition to the signature requirements of Subsection (1)(a), a person seeking to have an initiative submitted to a local legislative body or to a vote of the people for approval or rejection in a county, city, town, or metro township where the local legislative body is elected from council districts shall obtain, from each of a majority of council districts, legal signatures equal to the percentages established in Subsection (1)(a).

(2) If the total number of certified names from each verified signature sheet equals or exceeds the number of names required by this section, the clerk or recorder shall deliver the proposed law to the local legislative body at its next meeting.

(3)

(a) The local legislative body shall either adopt or reject the proposed law without change or amendment within 30 days of receipt of the proposed law.

(b) The local legislative body may:

(i) adopt the proposed law and refer it to the people;

(ii) adopt the proposed law without referring it to the people; or

(iii) reject the proposed law.

(c) If the local legislative body adopts the proposed law but does not refer it to the people, it is subject to referendum as with other local laws.

(d)

(i) If a county legislative body rejects a proposed county ordinance or amendment, or takes no action on it, the county clerk shall submit it to the voters of the county at the next regular general election immediately after the petition is filed under Section 20A-7-502.

(ii) If a local legislative body rejects a proposed municipal ordinance or amendment, or takes no action on it, the municipal recorder or clerk shall submit it to the voters of the municipality at the next municipal general election immediately after the petition is filed under Section 20A-7-502.

(e)

(i) If the local legislative body rejects the proposed ordinance or amendment, or takes no action on it, the local legislative body may adopt a competing local law.

(ii) The local legislative body shall prepare and adopt the competing local law within the 30 days allowed for its action on the measure proposed by initiative petition.

(iii) If the local legislative body adopts a competing local law, the clerk or recorder shall submit it to the voters of the county or municipality at the same election at which the initiative proposal is submitted.

(f) If conflicting local laws are submitted to the people at the same election and two or more of the conflicting measures are approved by the people, then the measure that receives the greatest number of affirmative votes shall control all conflicts.

20A-7-506. Submitting the initiative petition -- Certification of signatures by the county clerks -- Transfer to local clerk.
(1) (a) The sponsors shall deliver each signed and verified initiative packet to the county clerk of the county in which the packet was circulated on or before the sooner of:
(i) for county initiatives:
(A) 316 days after the day on which the application is filed; or
(B) the April 15 immediately before the next regular general election immediately after the application is filed under Section 20A-7-502; or
(ii) for municipal initiatives:
(A) 316 days after the day on which the application is filed; or
(B) the April 15 immediately before the next municipal general election immediately after the application is filed under Section 20A-7-502.
(b) A sponsor may not submit an initiative packet after the deadline established in this Subsection (1).
(2) (a) No later than May 1, the county clerk shall:
(i) check the names of all persons completing the verification on the last page of each initiative packet to determine whether those persons are residents of Utah and are at least 18 years old; and
(ii) submit the name of each of those persons who is not a Utah resident or who is not at least 18 years old to the attorney general and county attorney.
(b) The county clerk may not certify a signature under Subsection (3) on an initiative packet that is not verified in accordance with Section 20A-7-505.
(3) No later than May 15, the county clerk shall:
(a) determine whether or not each signer is a voter according to the requirements of Section 20A-7-506.3;
(b) certify on the petition whether or not each name is that of a voter; and
(c) deliver all of the verified packets to the local clerk.

References: Utah Election Code 20A (accessed Sept. 20, 2017)

Subject Matter:

To initiate any desired legislation in county, city, or town

Actors

Author:
Citizens
Initiator:
Citizens
Decision maker:
Electorate

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
Depending on total votes: 10% up to 30% (see above)
Available Time:
316 days after application is filed or April 15 before the next general election
Turnout Quorum:
No turnout quorum found in legal source
Approval Quorum:
Majority of those voting
Geographical Quorum:
Collecting Signatures: From each of a majority of council districts, legal signatures equal to the percentages established in Subsection (1)(a)
Excluded Issues:
Other Formal Requirements:

20A-7-502. Local initiative process -- Application procedures.
(1) Persons wishing to circulate an initiative petition shall file an application with the local clerk.
(2) The application shall contain:
(a) the name and residence address of at least five sponsors of the initiative petition;
(b) a statement indicating that each of the sponsors:
(i) is a registered voter; and
(ii) (A) if the initiative seeks to enact a county ordinance, has voted in a regular general election in Utah within the last three years; or
(B) if the initiative seeks to enact a municipal ordinance, has voted in a regular municipal election in Utah:
(I) except as provided in Subsection (2)(b)(ii)(B)(II), within the last three years; or
(II) within the last five years, if the sponsor's failure to vote within the last three years is due to the sponsor's residing in a municipal district that participates in a municipal election every four years;
(c) the signature of each of the sponsors, attested to by a notary public; and
(d) a copy of the proposed law that includes:
(i) the title of the proposed law, which clearly expresses the subject of the law; and
(ii) the text of the proposed law.
(3) A proposed law submitted under this section may not contain more than one subject to the same extent a bill may not pass containing more than one subject as provided in Utah Constitution, Article VI, Section 22.

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
free
Specify Collection Mode:

20A-7-502 Local initiative process -- Application procedures.

(1) Persons wishing to circulate an initiative petition shall file an application with the local clerk.

(2) The application shall contain:

(a) the name and residence address of at least five sponsors of the initiative petition;

(b) a statement indicating that each of the sponsors:

(i) is a registered voter; and

(ii)

(A) if the initiative seeks to enact a county ordinance, has voted in a regular general election in Utah within the last three years; or

(B) if the initiative seeks to enact a municipal ordinance, has voted in a regular municipal election in Utah:

(I) except as provided in Subsection (2)(b)(ii)(B)(II), within the last three years; or

(II) within the last five years, if the sponsor's failure to vote within the last three years is due to the sponsor's residing in a municipal district that participates in a municipal election every four years;

(c) the signature of each of the sponsors, attested to by a notary public;

(d) a copy of the proposed law that includes:

(i) the title of the proposed law, which clearly expresses the subject of the law; and

(ii) the text of the proposed law; and

(e) if the initiative petition proposes a tax increase, the following statement, "This initiative petition seeks to increase the current (insert name of tax) rate by (insert the tax percentage difference) percent, resulting in a(n) (insert the tax percentage increase) percent increase in the current tax rate."

(3) A proposed law submitted under this section may not contain more than one subject to the same extent a bill may not pass containing more than one subject as provided in Utah Constitution, Article VI, Section 22.

20A-7-502.5 Initial fiscal and legal impact estimate -- Preparation of estimate -- Challenge to estimate.

(1) Within three working days of receipt of an application for an initiative petition, the local clerk shall submit a copy of the application to the county, city, or town's budget officer.

(2)

(a) The budget officer, together with legal counsel, shall prepare an unbiased, good faith estimate of the fiscal and legal impact of the law proposed by the initiative that contains:

(i) a dollar amount representing the total estimated fiscal impact of the proposed law;

(ii) if the proposed law would increase or decrease taxes, a dollar amount representing the total estimated increase or decrease for each type of tax affected under the proposed law and a dollar amount representing the total estimated increase or decrease in taxes under the proposed law;

(iii) if the proposed law would increase taxes, the tax percentage difference and the tax percentage increase;

(iv) if the proposed law would result in the issuance or a change in the status of bonds, notes, or other debt instruments, a dollar amount representing the total estimated increase or decrease in public debt under the proposed law;

(v) a listing of all sources of funding for the estimated costs associated with the proposed law showing each source of funding and the percentage of total funding provided from each source;

(vi) a dollar amount representing the estimated costs or savings, if any, to state and local government entities under the proposed law;

(vii) the proposed law's legal impact, including:

(A) any significant effects on a person's vested property rights;

(B) any significant effects on other laws or ordinances;

(C) any significant legal liability the city, county, or town may incur; and

(D) any other significant legal impact as determined by the budget officer and the legal counsel; and

(viii) a concise explanation, not exceeding 100 words, of the above information and of the estimated fiscal impact, if any, under the proposed law.

(b)

(i) If the proposed law is estimated to have no fiscal impact, the local budget officer shall include a summary statement in the initial fiscal impact statement in substantially the following form:

"The (title of the local budget officer) estimates that the law proposed by this initiative would have no significant fiscal impact and would not result in either an increase or decrease in taxes or debt."

(ii) If the proposed law is estimated to have a fiscal impact, the local budget officer shall include a summary statement in the initial fiscal impact estimate in substantially the following form:

"The (title of the local budget officer) estimates that the law proposed by this initiative would result in a total fiscal expense/savings of $______, which includes a (type of tax or taxes) tax increase/decrease of $______ and a $______ increase/decrease in public debt."

(iii) If the estimated fiscal impact of the proposed law is highly variable or is otherwise difficult to reasonably express in a summary statement, the local budget officer may include in the summary statement a brief explanation that identifies those factors affecting the variability or

difficulty of the estimate.

(iv) If the proposed law would increase taxes, the local budget officer shall include a summary statement in the initial fiscal impact statement in substantially the following form:

"This initiative petition seeks to increase the current (insert name of tax) rate by (insert the tax percentage difference) percent, resulting in a(n) (insert the tax percentage increase) percent increase in the current tax rate."

(3) The budget officer shall prepare an unbiased, good faith estimate of the cost of printing and distributing information related to the initiative petition in the voter information pamphlet asrequired by Section 20A-7-402.

(4) Within 25 calendar days from the date that the local clerk delivers a copy of the application, the budget officer shall:

(a) deliver a copy of the initial fiscal impact estimate, including the legal impact estimate, to the local clerk's office; and

(b) mail a copy of the initial fiscal impact estimate, including the legal impact estimate, to the first five sponsors named in the application.

(5)

(a) Three or more of the sponsors of the petition may, within 20 calendar days of the date of delivery of the initial fiscal impact estimate to the local clerk's office, file a petition with the Supreme Court, alleging that the initial fiscal impact estimate, including the legal impact estimate, taken as a whole, is an inaccurate estimate of the fiscal or legal impact of the initiative.

(b)

(i) There is a presumption that the initial fiscal impact estimate, including the legal impact estimate, prepared by the budget officer and legal counsel is based upon reasonable assumptions, uses reasonable data, and applies accepted analytical methods to present the estimated fiscal and legal impact of the initiative.

(ii) The Supreme Court may not revise the contents of, or direct the revision of, the initial fiscal impact estimate, including the legal impact estimate, unless the plaintiffs rebut the presumption by clear and convincing evidence that establishes that the fiscal estimate, including the legal impact estimate, taken as a whole, is an inaccurate statement of the estimated fiscal or legal impact of the initiative.

(iii) The Supreme Court may refer an issue related to the initial fiscal impact estimate, including the legal impact estimate, to a master to examine the issue and make a report in accordance with Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 53.

(c) The Supreme Court shall certify to the local clerk an initial fiscal impact estimate, including the legal impact estimate, for the measure that meets the requirements of this section.

Wording Of Ballot Question:

20A-7-508 Ballot title -- Duties of local clerk and local attorney.

(1) Whenever an initiative petition is declared sufficient for submission to a vote of the people, the local clerk shall deliver a copy of the petition and the proposed law to the local attorney.

(2) The local attorney shall:

(a) entitle each county or municipal initiative that has qualified for the ballot "Proposition Number_" and give it a number as assigned under Section 20A-6-107;

(b) prepare a proposed ballot title for the initiative;

(c) file the proposed ballot title and the numbered initiative titles with the local clerk within 15 days after the date the initiative petition is declared sufficient for submission to a vote of the people; and

(d) promptly provide notice of the filing of the proposed ballot title to:

(i) the sponsors of the petition; and

(ii) the local legislative body for the jurisdiction where the initiative petition was circulated.

(3)

(a) The ballot title may be distinct from the title of the proposed law attached to the initiative petition, and shall express, in not exceeding 100 words, the purpose of the measure.

(b) In preparing a ballot title, the local attorney shall, to the best of the local attorney's ability, give a true and impartial statement of the purpose of the measure.

(c) The ballot title may not intentionally be an argument, or likely to create prejudice, for or against the measure.

(d) If the initiative proposes a tax increase, the local attorney shall include the following statement, in bold, in the ballot title:

"This initiative seeks to increase the current (insert name of tax) rate by (insert the tax percentage difference) percent, resulting in a(n) (insert the tax percentage increase) percent increase in the current tax rate."

(4)

(a) Within five calendar days after the date the local attorney files a proposed ballot title under Subsection (2)(c), the local legislative body for the jurisdiction where the initiative petition was circulated and the sponsors of the petition may file written comments in response to the proposed ballot title with the local clerk.

(b) Within five calendar days after the last date to submit written comments under Subsection (4)

(a), the local attorney shall:

(i) review any written comments filed in accordance with Subsection (4)(a);

(ii) prepare a final ballot title that meets the requirements of Subsection (3); and

(iii) return the petition and file the ballot title with the local clerk.

(c) Subject to Subsection (6), the ballot title, as determined by the local attorney, shall be printed on the official ballot.

(5) Immediately after the local attorney files a copy of the ballot title with the local clerk, the local clerk shall serve a copy of the ballot title by mail upon the sponsors of the petition and the local legislative body for the jurisdiction where the initiative petition was circulated.

(6)

(a) If the ballot title furnished by the local attorney is unsatisfactory or does not comply with the requirements of this section, the decision of the local attorney may be appealed by a petition to the Supreme Court that is brought by:

(i) at least three sponsors of the initiative petition; or

(ii) a majority of the local legislative body for the jurisdiction where the initiative petition was circulated.

(b) The Supreme Court shall examine the measures and consider arguments, and, in its decision, may certify to the local clerk a ballot title for the measure that fulfills the intent of this section.

(c) The local clerk shall print the title certified by the Supreme Court on the official ballot.

Interaction With Authorities:

20A-7-504 Circulation requirements -- Local clerk to provide sponsors with materials.

(1) In order to obtain the necessary number of signatures required by this part, the sponsors shall circulate initiative packets that meet the form requirements of this part.

(2) Within five days after the day on which a local clerk receives an application that complies with the requirements of Section 20A-7-502, the local clerk shall furnish to the sponsors:

(a) one copy of the initiative petition; and

(b) one signature sheet.

(3) The sponsors of the petition shall:

(a) arrange and pay for the printing of all additional copies of the petition and signature sheets; and

(b) ensure that the copies of the petition and signature sheets meet the form requirements of this section.

(4)

(a) The sponsors may prepare the initiative for circulation by creating multiple initiative packets.

(b) The sponsors shall create those packets by binding a copy of the initiative petition, a copy of the proposed law, and no more than 50 signature sheets together at the top in such a way that the packets may be conveniently opened for signing.

(c) The sponsors need not attach a uniform number of signature sheets to each initiative packet.

(5)

(a) After the sponsors have prepared sufficient initiative packets, they shall return them to the local clerk.

(b) The local clerk shall:

(i) number each of the initiative packets and return them to the sponsors within five working days; and

(ii) keep a record of the numbers assigned to each packet.

20A-7-505. Obtaining signatures -- Verification -- Removal of signature.
(1) Any Utah voter may sign a local initiative petition if the voter is a legal voter and resides in the local jurisdiction.
(2) (a) The sponsors shall ensure that the person in whose presence each signature sheet was signed:
(i) is at least 18 years old and meets the residency requirements of Section 20A-2-105; and
(ii) verifies each signature sheet by completing the verification printed on the last page of each initiative packet.
(b) A person may not sign the verification printed on the last page of the initiative packet if the person signed a signature sheet in the initiative packet.
(3) (a) (i) Any voter who has signed an initiative petition may have the voter's signature removed from the petition by submitting a notarized statement to that effect to the local clerk.
(ii) In order for the signature to be removed, the statement must be received by the local clerk before he delivers the petition to the county clerk to be certified.
(b) Upon receipt of the statement, the local clerk shall remove the signature of the person submitting the statement from the initiative petition.
(c) No one may remove signatures from an initiative petition after the petition is submitted to the county clerk to be certified.


Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

Practice

Archive:
Remarks: