Utah, USA, regional Popular or citizens initiative [PCI] - Initiative petition to the people

General Typology

Instrument
Popular or citizens initiative [PCI]
Location
Utah, USA
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Initiative petition to the people
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:
(2) (a) (i) The legal voters of the State of Utah, in the numbers, under the conditions, in the manner, and within the time provided by statute, may:
(A) initiate any desired legislation and cause it to be submitted to the people for adoption upon a majority vote of those voting on the legislation, as provided by statute; or (..)

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

20A-7-102. Initiatives and referenda authorized -- Restrictions.
By following the procedures and requirements of this chapter, Utah voters may, subject to the restrictions of Article VI, Sec. 1, Utah Constitution and this chapter:
(1) initiate any desired legislation and cause it to be submitted to:
(a) the Legislature or to a vote of the people for approval or rejection if it is a proposed state law; or (..)

20A-7-201. Statewide initiatives -- Signature requirements -- Submission to the Legislature or to a vote of the people.
(..)
(2) (a) A person seeking to have an initiative submitted to a vote of the people for approval or rejection shall obtain:
(i) legal signatures equal to 10% of the cumulative total of all votes cast by voters of this state for all candidates for President of the United States at the last regular general election at which a President of the United States was elected; and
(ii) from each of at least 26 Utah State Senate districts, legal signatures equal to 10% of the total of all votes cast in that district for all candidates for President of the United States at the last regular general election at which a President of the United States was elected.
(b) If an initiative petition meets the requirements of this part and the lieutenant governor declares the initiative petition to be sufficient, the lieutenant governor shall submit the proposed law to a vote of the people at the next regular general election:
(i) immediately after the application is filed under Section 20A-7-202; and
(ii) specified on the petition under Section 20A-7-203.
(3) The lieutenant governor shall provide the following information from the official canvass of the last regular general election at which a President of the United States was elected to any interested person:
(a) the cumulative total of all votes cast by voters in this state for all candidates for President of the United States; and
(b) for each Utah State Senate district, the total of all votes cast in that district for all candidates for President of the United States.

20A-7-206. Submitting the initiative petition -- Certification of signatures by the county clerks -- Transfer to lieutenant governor.
(1) (a) In order to qualify an initiative petition for placement on the regular general election ballot, 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) 316 days after the day on which the application is filed; or
(ii) the April 15 immediately before the next regular general election immediately after the application is filed under Section 20A-7-202.
(b) A sponsor may not submit an initiative packet after the deadline established in this Subsection (1).
(2) (a) No later than May 1 before the regular general election, the county clerk shall:
(i) check the names of all persons completing the verification for the 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-7-205.
(3) No later than May 15 before the regular general election, the county clerk shall:
(a) determine whether each signer is a registered voter according to the requirements of Section 20A-7-206.3;
(b) certify on the petition whether each name is that of a registered voter; and
(c) deliver all of the verified initiative packets to the lieutenant governor.
(4) Upon receipt of an initiative packet under Subsection (3) and any statement submitted under Subsection 20A-7-205(3), the lieutenant g overnor shall remove from the initiative petition a voter's signature if the voter has requested the removal in accordance with Subsection 20A-7-205(3).
(5) In order to qualify an initiative petition for submission to the Legislature, the sponsors shall deliver each signed and verified initiative packet to the county clerk of the county in which the packet was circulated by the November 15 before the next annual general session of the Legislature immediately after the application is filed under Section 20A-7-202.
(6) (a) No later than December 1 before the annual general session of the Legislature, the county clerk shall:
(i) check the names of all persons completing the verification for the initiative packet to determine whether those persons are Utah residents 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 (7) on an initiative packet that is not verified in accordance with Section 20A-7-205.
(7) No later than December 15 before the annual general session of the Legislature, the county clerk shall:
(a) determine whether each signer is a registered voter according to the requirements of Section 20A-7-206.3;
(b) certify on the petition whether each name is that of a registered voter; and
(c) deliver all of the verified initiative packets to the lieutenant governor.
(8) The sponsor or their representatives may not retrieve initiative packets from the county clerks once they have submitted them.

20A-7-206.3. Verification of petition signatures.
20A-7-207. Evaluation by the lieutenant governor.

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

Subject Matter:

To initiate laws

Actors

Author:
Citizens
Initiator:
Citizens
Decision maker:
Electorate

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
10% of the total of all votes cast
Available Time:
316 days after day of application or April 15 immediately before the next gen. election
Turnout Quorum:
No turnout quorum found in legal source
Approval Quorum:
(I) Majority of those voting. (ii) legislation initiated to allow, limit, or prohibit the taking of wildlife or the season for or method of taking wildlife shall be adopted upon approval of two-thirds of those voting.
Geographical Quorum:
Signature quorum: From each of at least 26 Utah State Senate districts, legal signatures equal to 10% of the total of all votes cast in that district for all candidates for President of the United States at the last regular general election (..)
Excluded Issues:
Other Formal Requirements:

20A-7-202 Statewide initiative process -- Application procedures -- Time to gather signatures -- Grounds for rejection.

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

(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 resident of Utah; and

(ii) has voted in a regular general election in Utah within the last three 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;

(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."; and

(f) a statement indicating whether persons gathering signatures for the petition may be paid for

doing so.

(3) The application and its contents are public when filed with the lieutenant governor.

(4) If the petition fails to qualify for the ballot of the election described in Subsection 20A-7-201(2)

(b), the sponsors shall:

(a) submit a new application;

(b) obtain new signature sheets; and

(c) collect signatures again.

(5) The lieutenant governor shall reject the application or application addendum filed under Subsection 20A-7-204.1(5) and not issue circulation sheets if:

(a) the law proposed by the initiative is patently unconstitutional;

(b) the law proposed by the initiative is nonsensical;

(c) the proposed law could not become law if passed;

(d) the proposed law contains more than one subject as evaluated in accordance with Subsection (6);

(e) the subject of the proposed law is not clearly expressed in the law's title; or

(f) the law proposed by the initiative is identical or substantially similar to a law proposed by an initiative that was submitted to the county clerks and lieutenant governor for certification and evaluation within two years preceding the date on which the application for this initiative was

filed.

(6) To evaluate whether the proposed law contains more than one subject under Subsection (5)(d), the lieutenant governor shall apply the same standard provided in Utah Constitution, Article VI, Section 22, which prohibits a bill from passing that contains more than one subject.

References: Utah Election Code 20A (accessed Sept. 18, 2017)

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
free
Specify Collection Mode:
Wording Of Ballot Question:

20A-7-209 Ballot title -- Duties of lieutenant governor and Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel.

(1) By June 5 before the regular general election, the lieutenant governor shall deliver a copy of all of the proposed laws that have qualified for the ballot to the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel.

(2) (a) The Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel shall:

(i) entitle each state initiative that has qualified for the ballot "Proposition Number __" and give it a number as assigned under Section 20A-6-107;

(ii) prepare an impartial ballot title for each initiative summarizing the contents of the measure; and

(iii) return each petition and ballot title to the lieutenant governor by June 26.

(b) The ballot title may be distinct from the title of the proposed law attached to the initiative petition, and shall be not more than 100 words.

(c) If the initiative proposes a tax increase, the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel 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."

(d) For each state initiative, the official ballot shall show:

(i) the number of the initiative as determined by the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel;

(ii) the ballot title as determined by the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel; and

(iii) the initial fiscal impact estimate prepared under Section 20A-7-202.5 or updated under Section 20A-7-204.1.

(3) By June 27, the lieutenant governor shall mail a copy of the ballot title to any sponsor of the petition.

(4)

(a)

(i) At least three of the sponsors of the petition may, by July 6, challenge the wording of the ballot title prepared by the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel to the Supreme Court. (..)

Interaction With Authorities:

20A-7-202.5. Initial fiscal impact estimate -- Preparation of estimate -- Challenge to estimate.
(1) Within three working days of receipt of an application for an initiative petition, the lieutenant governor shall submit a copy of the application to the Governor's Office of Management and Budget.
(2) (a) The Governor's Office of Management and Budget shall prepare an unbiased, good faith estimate of the fiscal 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 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 ;
(iv) 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;
(v) a dollar amount representing the estimated costs or savings, if any, to state and local government entities under the proposed law; and
(vi) 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 Governor's Office of Management and Budget shall include a summary statement in the initial fiscal impact statement in substantially the following form:
"The Governor's Office of Management and Budget 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 Governor's Office of Management and Budget shall include a summary statement in the initial fiscal impact estimate in substantially the following form:
"The Governor's Office of Management and Budget 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 state 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 Governor's Office of Management and Budget may include in the summary statement a brief explanation that identifies those factors affecting the variability or difficulty of the estimate.
(3) The Governor's Office of Management and Budget shall prepare an unbiased, good faith estimate of the cost of printing and distributing information related to the initiative petition in:
(a) the voter information pamphlet as required by Title 20A, Chapter 7, Part 7, Voter Information Pamphlet; or
(b) the newspaper, as required by Section 20A-7-702.
(4) Within 25 calendar days from the date that the lieutenant governor delivers a copy of the application, the Governor's Office of Management and Budget shall:
(a) deliver a copy of the initial fiscal impact estimate to the lieutenant governor's office; and
(b) mail a copy of the initial fiscal impact estimate to the first five sponsors named in the initiative application.
(5) (a) (i) 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 lieutenant governor's office, file a petition with the Supreme Court, alleging that the initial fiscal impact estimate, taken as a whole, is an inaccurate estimate of the fiscal impact of the initiative.
(ii) After receipt of the appeal, the Supreme Court shall direct the lieutenant governor to send notice of the petition to:
(A) any person or group that has filed an argument with the lieutenant governor's office for or against the measure that is the subject of the challenge; and
(B) any political issues committee established under Section 20A-11-801 that has filed written or electronic notice with the lieutenant governor that identifies the name, mailing or email address, and telephone number of the person designated to receive notice about any issues relating to the initiative.
(b) (i) There is a presumption that the initial fiscal impact estimate prepared by the Governor's Office of Management and Budget is based upon reasonable assumptions, uses reasonable data, and applies accepted analy tical methods to present the estimated fiscal impact of the initiative.
(ii) The Supreme Court may not revise the contents of, or direct the revision of, the initial fiscal impact estimate unless the plaintiffs rebut the presumption by clear and convincing evidence that establishes that the initial fiscal estimate, taken as a whole, is an inaccurate statement of the estimated fiscal impact of the initiative.
(iii) The Supreme Court may refer an issue related to the initial fiscal 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 lieutenant governor a fiscal impact estimate for the measure that meets the requirements of this section.

20A-7-203 Form of initiative petition and signature sheets.

(1)

(a) Each proposed initiative petition shall be printed in substantially the following form:

"INITIATIVE PETITION To the Honorable ____, Lieutenant Governor:

We, the undersigned citizens of Utah, respectfully demand that the following proposed law be submitted to the legal voters/Legislature of Utah for their/its approval or rejection at the regular general election/session to be held/ beginning on _________(month\day\year);

Each signer says:

I have personally signed this petition;

I am registered to vote in Utah or intend to become registered to vote in Utah before the certification of the petition names by the county clerk; and

My residence and post office address are written correctly after my name.

NOTICE TO SIGNERS:

Public hearings to discuss this petition were held at: (list dates and locations of public hearings.)"

(b) If the initiative petition proposes a tax increase, the following statement shall appear, in at least 14-point, bold type, immediately following the information described in Subsection (1)(a):

"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."

(c) The sponsors of an initiative shall attach a copy of the proposed law to each initiative petition.

(2) Each signature sheet shall:

(a) be printed on sheets of paper 8-1/2 inches long and 11 inches wide;

(b) be ruled with a horizontal line three-fourths inch from the top, with the space above that line blank for the purpose of binding;

(c) contain the title of the initiative printed below the horizontal line, in at least 14-point, bold type;

(d) be vertically divided into columns as follows:

(i) the first column shall appear at the extreme left of the sheet, be five-eighths inch wide, be headed with "For Office Use Only," and be subdivided with a light vertical line down the middle with the left subdivision entitled "Registered" and the right subdivision left untitled;

(ii) the next column shall be 2-1/2 inches wide, headed "Registered Voter's Printed Name (must be legible to be counted)";

(iii) the next column shall be 2-1/2 inches wide, headed "Signature of Registered Voter";

(iv) the next column shall be one inch wide, headed "Birth Date or Age (Optional)"; and

(v) the final column shall be 4-3/8 inches wide, headed "Street Address, City, Zip Code";

(e) spanning the sheet horizontally beneath each row on which a registered voter may submit the information described in Subsection (2)(d), contain the following statement printed or typed

in not less than eight-point type:

"By signing this petition, you are stating that you have

read and understand the law proposed by this petition."; and

(f) at the bottom of the sheet, contain in the following order:

(i) the title of the initiative, in at least 14-point, bold type;

(ii) the initial fiscal impact estimate's summary statement issued by the Governor's Office of Management and Budget in accordance with Subsection 20A-7-202.5(2)(b), including any update in accordance with Subsection 20A-7-204.1(4), and the cost estimate for printing and distributing information related to the initiative petition in accordance with Subsection 20A-7-202.5(3), in not less than 12-point, bold type;

(iii) the word "Warning," followed by the following statement in not less than eight-point type:

"It is a class A misdemeanor for an individual to sign an initiative petition with a name other than the individual's own name, or to knowingly sign the individual's name more than once for the same measure, or to sign an initiative petition when the individual knows that the individual is not a registered voter and knows that the individual does not intend to become registered to vote before the certification of the petition names by the county clerk.";

(iv) the following statement: "Birth date or age information is not required, but it may be used to verify your identity with voter registration records. If you choose not to provide it, your signature may not be verified as a valid signature if you change your address before petition signatures are verified or if the information you provide does not match your voter registration records."; and

(v) if the initiative petition proposes a tax increase, spanning the bottom of the sheet, horizontally, in not less than 14-point, bold type, 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) The final page of each initiative packet shall contain the following printed or typed statement:

"Verification

State of Utah, County of ____

I, _______________, of ____, hereby state that:

I am a resident of Utah and am at least 18 years old;

All the names that appear in this packet were signed by individuals who professed to be the individuals whose names appear in it, and each of the individuals signed the individual's name on it in my presence;

I believe that each individual has printed and signed the individual's name and written the individual's post office address and residence correctly, and that each signer is registered to vote in Utah or intends to become registered to vote before the certification of the petition names by the county clerk.

I have not paid or given anything of value to any person who signed this petition to encourage that person to sign it.

________________________________________________________________________

(Name)

(Residence Address)

(Date)"

(4) The forms prescribed in this section are not mandatory, and, if substantially followed, the initiative petitions are sufficient, notwithstanding clerical and merely technical errors.

20A-7-204 Circulation requirements -- Lieutenant governor 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) The lieutenant governor shall furnish to the sponsors:

(a) a copy of the initiative petition, with any change submitted under Subsection 20A-7-204.1(5); 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 lieutenant governor.

(b) The lieutenant governor 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-7-204.1 Public hearings to be held before initiative petitions are circulated -- Changes to an initiative and initial fiscal impact estimate.

(1)

(a) After issuance of the initial fiscal impact estimate by the Governor's Office of Management and Budget and before circulating initiative petitions for signature statewide, sponsors of the initiative petition shall hold at least seven public hearings throughout Utah as follows:

(i) one in the Bear River region -- Box Elder, Cache, or Rich County;

(ii) one in the Southwest region -- Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane, or Washington County;

(iii) one in the Mountain region -- Summit, Utah, or Wasatch County;

(iv) one in the Central region -- Juab, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier, or Wayne County;

(v) one in the Southeast region -- Carbon, Emery, Grand, or San Juan County;

(vi) one in the Uintah Basin region -- Daggett, Duchesne, or Uintah County; and

(vii) one in the Wasatch Front region -- Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Tooele, or Weber County.

(b) Of the seven meetings, at least two of the meetings shall be held in a first or second class county, but not in the same county.

(2) At least three calendar days before the date of the public hearing, the sponsors shall:

(a) provide written notice of the public hearing to:

(i) the lieutenant governor for posting on the state's website; and

(ii) each state senator, state representative, and county commission or county council member who is elected in whole or in part from the region where the public hearing will be held; and

(b) publish written notice of the public hearing detailing its time, date, and location:

(i) in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each county in the region where the public hearing will be held; and

(ii) on the Utah Public Notice Website created in Section 63F-1-701.

(3) If the initiative petition proposes a tax increase, the written notice described in Subsection (2) shall include the following statement, in bold, in the same font and point size as the largest font and point size appearing in the notice:

"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."

(4)

(a) During the public hearing, the sponsors shall either:

(i) video tape or audio tape the public hearing and, when the hearing is complete, deposit the complete audio or video tape of the meeting with the lieutenant governor; or

(ii) take comprehensive minutes of the public hearing, detailing the names and titles of each speaker and summarizing each speaker's comments.

(b) The lieutenant governor shall make copies of the tapes or minutes available to the public.

(5)

(a) Within 14 days after conducting the seventh public hearing required by Subsection (1)(a) and before circulating an initiative petition for signatures, the sponsors of the initiative petition may change the text of the proposed law if:

(i) a change to the text is:

(A) germane to the text of the proposed law filed with the lieutenant governor under Section 20A-7-202; and

(B) consistent with the requirements of Subsection 20A-7-202(5); and

(ii) each sponsor signs, attested to by a notary public, an application addendum to change the text of the proposed law.

(b)

(i) Within three working days of receipt of an application addendum to change the text of the proposed law in an initiative petition, the lieutenant governor shall submit a copy of the application addendum to the Governor's Office of Management and Budget.

(ii) The Governor's Office of Management and Budget shall update the initial fiscal impact estimate by following the procedures and requirements of Section 20A-7-202.5 to reflect a change to the text of the proposed law.

Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

20A-7-205.5. Initial disclosures -- Paid circulators.
(1) When petitions are being circulated by paid circulators, the sponsors of the initiative shall file a report with the lieutenant governor on the second Tuesday in March of the year of the regular general election and on the Tuesday before the regular general election.
(2) The report shall contain:
(a) the names of the sponsors; and
(b) the name of the proposed measure for which petitions are being circulated by paid circulators.

Practice

Archive:
Remarks:

Please note: Utah law has two ways to submit: Directly to the people or to the legislature - and if the legislature denies the petition, people can collect additional signatures to submit the suggestion to the people.
See for more information: PAX - Utah, Usa: Regional Agenda (setting) initiative. Addiitional amount of signatures to collect: 5%; Amount for a successful PAX-Initiative: 5%.
The legal design does not substantially differ from the PCI described here.