OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A measure that would make changes to the state’s initiative petition process is moving forward.
You’re probably familiar with the initiative petition process in Oklahoma; citizens gather signatures to put an issue to a statewide vote.
However, a new measure could make that process more difficult.
Senate Bill 518 could require additional requirements for citizen initiative petitions to reach a ballot.
SB 518 would increase certain filing requirements, require additional time for protests or objections, require more personal information from filers, and a $750 filing fee.
“There’s not necessarily a flaw, but I want to make sure we can reassure citizens that the initiative petition process is handled in such a way that they can have confidence that it’s authentic,” said Sen. Julia Daniels, (R-Bartlesville), who authored the bill.
Critics of the bill disagree, arguing that Oklahoma already has one of the most complicated processes for initiative petitions to make it onto the ballot.
Indivisible Oklahoma Direct Democracy says that since statehood, 445 initiative petitions have been filed but only 95 made it onto a ballot. Of those 95, only 31 passed in an election.
Previously, voters have approved citizen ballot initiatives that effected criminal justice reform, expanded Medicaid, and legalized medical marijuana.
The Oklahoma Senate passed Senate Bill 518. It now heads to the Oklahoma House of Representatives.