The initiative petition that failed to get on the November 2002 ballot would have made several major changes in current state law.
Under the terms of the Initiative, the Fish and Game Commission would have five instead of seven members. They would serve for six year terms instead of the current four years. The Governor would only be able to appoint members from a slate elected in caucuses around the state. And the Idaho Senate would no longer have confirmation power.
Supporters of the Initiative needed to collect 43,000 valid signatures on petitions to submit the measure for a vote in the November 2002 election. Since they started in March, that meant they had about fifty days, or until April 30, 2002, to gather the signatures. While they collected approximately 50,000 signatures, there was a rejection rate of about 30%.
Proponents say they will try again in 2003 to get the necessary signatures. The text of the initiative is posted here.
To get a flavor of the debate surrounding this initiative petition, check out some of the columns that have appeared in various newspapers in the spring of 2002:
By Dee Eldridge
The intent of the initiative petition that is sponsored by the Idaho Wildlife Federation would, if it became law, amend title 36-102 that governs the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.
In my opinion, this initiative was prompted by individuals who feel the farmers and ranchers of Idaho have too much control of our Legislature.
Farmers and ranchers do have a place at the table. The farmers and ranchers have done more for our wildlife in this state than Fish and Game has or will ever do.
Wildlife management not a game
By Jack W. Fisher
Idaho's politicians have undermined what voters intended when they passed a 1938 Fish and Game initiative. It's time to restore that system. Why do we need an initiative to select Fish and Game commissioners? Why do we want to go back to the 1938 Initiative as a model for our 2002 Initiative? Why do we want to have only five regions and five commissioners in the state? Why do we want six-year terms of office? Why is the provision that the governor can only fire a commissioner for "cause" so important? Why is not having a political balance on the commission important? And finally, why is it important that we create Citizen Wildlife Advisory councils in each region to select nominees from which the governor must select the commissioner to represent each region? Why, we ask? More...
Fish and Game initiative plays politics
By Jim Gerber
A group of citizens, led by a coalition of 31 sporting and environmental groups, is proposing an initiative to reduce the number of Fish and Game commissioners from seven to five, and to change the way the commissioners are selected. On its face this does not appear to be a good idea. More...