Be responsible when voting on initiatives

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Initiatives are an important part of our democratic process. They allow citizens to bring legislation forward. That was the intended process.

They can also be a way for lobbyists and special interest groups to bring their legislation forward. When voting on any initiative it is your responsibility to read and fully understand the initiative on its merits. We are seeing and hearing ads that are trying to influence your vote that use deception, tricky phrases, and even fear tactics. We are seeing this on both the yes and no sides.

Know that once an initiative passes, it becomes law or policy, as written. I don’t believe many of you had a chance to add any amendments to the initiatives or even were asked for your personal input as they were being written. That is why it is so important to read and understand what you are voting for.

You surely do not want your legislators to vote on bills they did not read or understand. If an initiative does not pass, there is still the opportunity for the legislature to bring it forward as a bill, which will be discussed by citizens openly in committee hearings, discussed on the floors of both chambers, and presented to the Governor. During all of these discussions there is an opportunity to amend a bill and add any needed changes to improve the bill. During this process you all have an opportunity for input.

Again, I stress being responsible in voting on initiatives. Do you want something enacted as law that lobbyist and special interests wrote or something you and your representative were able to work on together as a bill?

— Rep. Denley M. Loge (HD 14), St. Regis

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