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Idaho

Judge rules in favor of education funding ballot initiative

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MGN Online

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Idaho officials to decide by Friday afternoon whether to put an education funding initiative on the November ballot or allow more time for electronic signature gathering.

U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued the order after granting a preliminary injunction to Reclaim Idaho, a group that backs citizen initiatives.

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 in a lawsuit filed earlier this month said that Republican Gov. Brad Little's statewide stay-at-home order in late March due to the coronavirus pandemic didn't include any exceptions for ballot initiative signature gathering.

The group said that violated the First Amendment-protected process of signature gathering, a form of political speech.

Winmill in granting the injunction said Reclaim Idaho was likely to win the case and, except for the pandemic, likely would have gathered enough signatures for the initiative to appear on the November ballot.

Secretary of State Chief Deputy Chad Houck said that agency hadn't had time to review the decision and had no comment.

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Associated Press

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