By Justin Lin

How has the initiative and referendum (I&R) process changed over the years? What are some laws that could be affecting my state this year?

It may be difficult to track what legislators are doing with regards to initiative and referendums, but NCSL has released its new database on I&R legislation that will include 2014 and subsequent years. NCSL had its previous database that tracked laws from 1993-2013.

Our new database has consolidated the large number of topics that existed in the past, allowing you to find more bills at once for each topic you choose. We have carefully selected the topics that encompass the most number of bills and laws so that the topics you choose will be most relevant to your find. In addition, our database keeps track of all bills that have been attempted as well as those that have passed and failed on a floor vote.

Among some of the bills that have passed this year include Alabama creating a fair ballot commission (AL H 9) and California removing prohibitions on ballot measure petition circulators—those who collect signatures—who reside outside the state (CA S 213.)

In addition to legislation concerning I&R, we also have legislation that affects recalls of elected officials under the “Recall” tab. Although recalls are rare at the state level, legislation is passed concerning the subject. We also have legislation that affects initiative and referendums on the local level under the “Local” tab.

We will continue to add bills to the list as new legislation is proposed and passed by lawmakers. We hope that this new version will keep fresh the rules and regulations surrounding the initiative and referendum process.

Twenty-four states have an initiative and referendum process. As Election Day nears, NCSL frequently receives questions from those interested on what ballot measures will appear. For such questions, NCSL has its ballot measure database, which provides details on ballot measures for this year as well as those of previous years.

Justin Lin an intern in NCSL's Elections Program. 

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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.


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