Initiative and Referendum States

 

Initiative – a law or constitutional amendment introduced by citizens through a petition process either to the legislature or directly to the voters.

Popular Referendum – a process by which voters may petition to demand a popular vote on a new law passed by the legislature.

 

Statutes

Constitution

Initiative and Referendum States

State

 Initiative

Popular Referendum

Initiative

Alaska

I*

Yes

None

Arizona

D

Yes

D

Arkansas

D

Yes

D

California

D

Yes

D

Colorado

D

Yes

D

Florida

None

No

D

Idaho

D

Yes

None

Illinois

None

No

D

Maine

I

Yes

None

Maryland

None

Yes

None

Massachusetts

I

Yes

I

Michigan

I

Yes

D

Mississippi

None

No

I

Missouri

D

Yes

D

Montana

D

Yes

D

Nebraska

D

Yes

D

Nevada

I

Yes

D

New Mexico

None

Yes

None

North Dakota

D

Yes

D

Ohio

I

Yes

D

Oklahoma

D

Yes

D

Oregon

D

Yes

D

South Dakota

D

Yes

D

Utah

D & I

Yes

None

Washington

D & I

Yes

None

Wyoming

I*

Yes

None

U.S. Virgin Islands

I

Yes

I

D – Direct Initiative; proposals that qualify go directly on the ballot

I – Indirect Initiative; proposals are submitted to the legislature, which has an opportunity to act on the proposed legislation.  The initiative question will subsequently go on the ballot if the legislature rejects it, submits a different proposal or takes no action.

I* -- Alaska and Wyoming’s initiative processes are usually considered indirect.  However, instead of requiring that an initiative be submitted to the legislature for action, they only require that an initiative cannot be placed on the ballot until after a legislative session has convened and adjourned.

For more information, contact: Wendy Underhill, NCSL Staff Liaison.