SCS/SBs 817 & 774 - A person shall not qualify as a petition circulator if he or she has been found guilty of forgery.
Currently, those who sign a false name on a petition are guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Under the act, those who knowingly do so are guilty of a class one election offense.
Petitioners shall submit a copy of the filed statement of committee organization to the Secretary of State, with the sample petition.
The act requires the Secretary of State to post the full text of initiative and referendum petitions within two days of receiving such petition and a disclaimer stating that the text of the proposed measure may not constitute the full and correct text as required by law to qualify for circulation. The name of the individual or organization submitting the petition shall also be included. Failure to do so shall be considered an open records violation.
Currently, the Secretary of State has 30 days to approve or reject the form of a petition. This act decreases that time period to 15 days.
The petition sponsor shall submit, at the same time and with the sample petition, at least 1,000 sponsoring signatures to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall send the signatures to the election authorities for verification within 5 days to be verified by the election authorities within 15 days. If the sponsoring signatures are verified, the Secretary of State shall notify the petition sponsor and accept public comment regarding the proposed measure. The Secretary has 23 days from certification of the sponsoring signatures to prepare the summary statement. Sponsoring signatures and signatures collected prior to the date the official ballot title is certified shall not be counted for the purposes of determining the number of signatures constitutionally required to have the measure placed on the ballot.
Within 30 days of certification that the petition sponsor has the required signatures to have the provision placed on the ballot, the Joint Committee on Legislative Research shall hold an informational public hearing to take public testimony of those in support of and in opposition to the position.
Persons challenging the ballot title are barred from delaying the disposition of the case for more than 120 days. At the end of that period, the action shall be dismissed with prejudice for failure to prosecute unless the court enters an order expressly stating that the sole cause for delay was the court's unavailability.
The provision requiring the Joint Committee on Legislative Research to conduct a public hearing carries an emergency clause.