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Jaeger: Add 30 days to filing time for initiatives

Secretary of State Al Jaeger says adding another 30 days to the time when initiative petitions need to be filed with his office will make sure there’s enough time to review the signatures, as well as give the sponsoring committee time to file any legal challenges – and for the state Supreme Court to rule on any of those challenges.

Jaeger testified in favor of a state Constitutional change – that would require people who initiate a measure to have it filed with his office 120 days before the election. Right now the Constitution says the signatures have to be filed within 90 days. Jaeger told the Senate Judiciary Committee this became an issue last year, when his office threw out two initiatives because of falsified signatures. One group took it to the state Supreme Court.

Some opponents to the change say adding another 30 days could mean petitioners would lose the opportunity to collect signatures at the State Fair.

"To guarantee the right of the people to know that it was done correctly, and to provide a sponsoring committee with enough time to challenge any decisions, it seems to me that the extra 30 days is well-merited," Jaeger told the Committee. "It certainly off-sets any argument that can be made that 'we can't get it on the ballot because we can't get the State Fair.'"

It has already passed the House – and if the Senate goes along, it would be on the ballot in 2014.

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