Bills introduced to change the initiative process increased in 2022, but those enacted decreased

Bills introduced to change the initiative process increased in 2022. However, fewer bills have been enacted in 2022 compared to 2021. The number of legislatively referred ballot measures related to initiatives also increased in 2022 compared to 2020.

In 2022, Ballotpedia tracked 231 bills regarding ballot measure laws. Seventeen of these bills were passed and signed into law. Most (187) did not come to a vote before legislative sessions adjourned or were defeated. In 2021, for comparison, Ballotpedia tracked fewer bills—226—but 36 were enacted.

Of the bills enacted in 2022, one law, in particular, could have an effect on signature drives. Florida HB 921, signed on April 6, prohibited out-of-state donors from giving more than $3,000 to support or oppose an initiative during the signature-gathering phase. In June, a federal judge blocked the bill.

In 2021, legislatures passed bills in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Montana, and Utah regarding signature drives, such as increasing distribution requirements or prohibiting paid circulators. While the number of enacted laws decreased from 2021 to 2022, the number of legislatively referred measures related to the initiative process increased from two in 2018 to four in 2020 to six in 2022. 

In November, voters will decide on five measures—four constitutional amendments and one statute —related to the initiative process. Legislatures voted to place these measures on the ballot. Two of the measures were put on the ballot during 2022 legislative sessions, and the other three were put on the ballot during 2021 legislative sessions.

  1. Arkansas Issue 2: Requires a 60% vote to approve ballot initiatives
  2. Arizona Proposition 128: Allows the Legislature to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot measures that contain provisions ruled unconstitutional by the Arizona Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court
  3. Arizona Proposition 129: Requires citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject
  4. Arizona Proposition 132: Requires a 60% vote to pass ballot measures to approve taxes
  5. Colorado Proposition GG: Requires a table showing changes in income tax owed for average taxpayers in certain brackets to be included in the ballot title for initiated measures

In June, voters in South Dakota rejected Amendment C, which would have required a three-fifths vote of approval for ballot measures that increase taxes or fees or require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years.

In 2020, legislatures placed four measures on the ballot to change initiative processes. There was also one initiative in Florida to require that constitutional amendments be passed at two elections. Measures were defeated in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota. In Montana, voters approved two amendments to establish the existing signature distribution requirements for citizen-initiated measures as constitutional law.