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Idaho appeals judge’s education funding initiative rulings

Idaho Governor Brad Little
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Idaho Governor Brad Little

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Two federal court rulings involving the state's ballot initiative process are "judicial activism," Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little said and has appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

State officials late Tuesday appealed an order from earlier in the day forcing the state to allow online signatures that could put an education funding initiative on the November ballot.

The order means Idaho would have to extend signature gathering about seven weeks and allow electronic signatures - something the state has never before allowed for ballot initiatives.

The filing also appeals an order from last week that went against the state's request to throw out the lawsuit.

The education funding initiative seeks to raise $170 million for K-12 education by raising Idaho's corporate tax rate and increasing taxes on individuals making $250,000 a year or higher.

Reclaim Idaho, a group that backs citizen initiatives, in the lawsuit filed last month said that Little's statewide stay-at-home order in late March due to the coronavirus pandemic didn't include exceptions for ballot initiative signature gathering.

The group in the lawsuit against Little and Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, also a Republican, said that violated the First Amendment-protected process of signature gathering, a form of political speech.

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