Tagged: Ballot initiatives

Posted: March 30, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Medicaid Expansion Story Misses the Boat

A recent Public Radio story about a ballot measure to use federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage to the working poor left out some important information which left readers with an inaccurate view of what’s really going on.

Republicans are trying to claim that a ballot initiative to make some working poor Montanans eligible for Medicaid will cost more than it actually will cost, but the story misses some important points that show why the GOP’s claims are quite hollow.

The public radio story purports to compare estimates from the Governor’s office and Montana legislature on the cost and savings associated with expanding Medicaid to the working poor. However, the story leaves out the most important points – why the estimates are different, and why the opponents are saying what they’re saying.

Here’s what you need to know:

Republicans say that Montana can’t use savings generated from the extra federal funds coming to all states through the Affordable Care Act to fund the state’s share of the Medicaid expansion.

It’s unfortunate that the Public Radio story fails to mention an important fact related to any story about Medicaid expansion: that Affordable Care Act originally did not make expanding Medicaid optional. The health care reform bill extended Medicaid eligibility in all states–and paid for 100% of the cost of benefits for the first three years and most of the cost thereafter.

The new health care law also says the federal government would pick up more of the tab for states that had already expanded coverage to some people. Many states had already expanded coverage for some adults–even Montana had already expanded coverage for children in 2008.

Later of course, the Supreme Court said states could decide whether to expand Medicaid coverage or not, but it did not strike the part of the bill related to expansion that gave states extra federal funding to cover kids. The Affordable Care Act sent this extra money to states because it intended for them to expand medicaid coverage, so this is the obvious pot of money to use now.  MTPR should have included this fundamental piece of information.

Now let’s talk about the complainer-in-chief that MTPR interviews for this story. The man is Fred Thomas, who has had a long career in the insurance industry.

This is an important point because the insurance industry is currently seeking additional concessions, favorable rules, and lenient regulations from Congress and the administration. Unless you live under a rock, you know that insurance companies are screaming like little babies about any and all things related to the Affordable Care Act. It’s a kabuki theater of posturing and criticism designed soften the feds to give in to the industry’s latest demands (and increase their profit margins), and it sheds some light on why Mr. Thomas is trying to manufacture a controversy.

While I don’t expect MTPR to note that Fred Thomas was also the architect of energy deregulation, and therefore known to have little concern for public assets,  I’ll note it here as we all know how poorly that turned out.

Finally, it is simply ludicrous to refer to the legislative fiscal division as “the nonpartisan office responsible for analyzing the state budget.”

Perhaps the concept of separation of powers between the branches of government is new to TEA Party legislators, but most people know that the executive branch reports to the Governor, and the legislative branch reports to the legislative leadership:  Jeff Essmann and Art Wittich. In addition to not being non-partisan, the legislative staff are also not responsible for creating fiscal notes. That duty is assigned by law to the Office of Budget and Program Planning. And since Montanans did not elect a Republican as Governor, that office does not answer to them, and the GOPers are obviously not happy.

Public radio usually does such great work and I doubt they’ll be pleased to learn that Fred Thomas is trying to make them his pawn. So I’m hopeful that these facts will not be omitted in future coverage.


Posted: August 19, 2013 at 6:07 am

93 Years Later

Ninety-three years ago yesterday, women finally got the right to vote.  That was in 1920–only 144 years after the Declaration of Independence declared that “all men are created equal.”

Yet today Montana Republicans are still obsessed with restoring policies from 100 years ago–including erecting barriers to make it harder to vote.  During the 2013 legislature, they voted to put a measure on the ballot to eliminating same-day voter registration and making the last day to register to vote the Friday before the election to create additional and unnecessary obstacles to voting.

This means everyone in Montana will have less time to register to vote in Montana.

But there are types of people in particular who will lose out if they can’t register and vote on the same day—people with disabilities who need to make one trip instead of two; rural voters, particularly those on reservations who may live miles from the election office.   Then there are the people who thought they were properly registered, but were not, from correcting whatever the issue was and voting–such as people who registered when they renewed their driver’s license and the paperwork wasn’t transferred to the election office by mistake.

Montana Republicans know their policies are too wacky to be viable, so instead of running on the issues they’re seeking to keep good people out of office  by suppressing the vote–especially women leaders.

Same thing’s happening on the national level.  Just this week, a GOP political analyst said women leaders would be bad for the U.S. Here’s what GOP strategist Donny Deutsch said on Morning Joe to explain his view that the U.S. shouldn’t have women in power until Al Qaeda does:

“Problem: we have a woman, but our enemies are still on the opposite side of the equation. I don’t think the Al Qaedas of the world are going to be headed by women, so it falls apart a little bit. Women plus women equals a win to me. Women and still men on the other side of the table? Theoretically the world would be a better place with women running it. It doesn’t solve the problem.”

“If you have two women down to negotiate something, it’s going to get done without bullets,” Deutsch continued, undeterred by the ridiculousness of his position. “On our side of the equation, we solve it, but there’s a world that’s still a century behind in our evolutionary state or progressive state in how we feel about women.” 

The Republican voter suppression ballot measure is LR 405.

Posted: September 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

Legislator Admits Medical Marijuana Bill Was “Defacto Repeal” of Voter Intent in New Ad

Medical marijuana advocates today released a new radio ad in support of IR-124.  The ad urges voters to overturn Senate Bill 423 by ballot initiative at the polls this November.  SB 423 was passed by the Senate in 2011, and effectively repealed and destroyed a voter approved medical pot regime that was put in place in 2004 (also by ballot).

The ad features a statement by Sen.Larry Jent (D-Bozeman), who was caught on tape admitting that the Legislature’s final vote in the 2011 session was actually intended to functionally repeal (rather than fix) the state medical marijuana law adopted by voters.  “And it worked,” Jent concludes.  Oops.

Jent is not up for re-election this year but will be term limited out after the 2015 next session.  He had previously campaigned in the democratic gubernatorial primary but dropped out after it became clear he had no support against the popular Steve Bullock.

You can hear the ad here: No on IR-124 Ad

As you can see from the photo above, it looks like Jent may already be using some kind of illicit substance.

Legislators had claimed during the 2011 session that repealing the citizen initiative was not the intent of SB 423.  So Jent’s comments are very disappointing.   And polling has shown that Montana voters strongly oppose a repeal of the Medical Marijuana Act–62% oppose repeal while only 20% support it. The initiative passed with over 66% of the vote in 2004.

During the 2011 session, the Governor called SB 423 “unconstitutional on its face,” and issued an amendatory veto to fix the parts he considered legally defective.  The legislature rejected his changes, overriding Schweitzer’s amendatory veto and demonstrating they had the votes to override an outright veto of the bill as a whole.

Now, Montanans have a chance to decide for themselves whether they like what the legislature did.  A “no” vote on IR-124 is a vote to reject the Bat Crap Crazy legislature’s bill and allow sick people to use pot.  (An easy way to keep track of all of the initiatives and referenda on the ballot this fall is to vote no on everything but I-166, the initiative that says corporations aren’t people.)

Patients for Reform – Not Repeal today began airing the 30-second spot on the Northern Broadcasting Network, during the Aaron Flint show, and the group hopes to continue airing the ad on a daily basis through the election as fundraising allows.

Here’s the script of the ad: “Same Old Story”

Same old story. Politicians ignore the will of the people.The federal government attacks Montana’s sovereignty. And our gun rights. Fed up? Vote against IR-124 this November. It’s simple. Voters passed a ballot measure. The politicians repealed it.Here’s Democrat Larry Jent: This was meant to be a de facto repeal, and it worked. And, uh, that’s why we did it that way.

Repeal? What about respect for the voters?


Politicians said no to you. Now say no to them. No on IR-124.

[Paid for by Patients for Reform, Not Repeal. Sarah Baugh, Treasurer]


Posted: August 2, 2012 at 7:45 am

This is Embarrassing

Which Montana Republican strategist decided it was a good idea to make a woman caught in a Medicaid fraud probe  the public face of the conservative health care message?

Former GOP legislator Joe Balyeat says he has “a group of doctors” who are “rallying” in support of a “free-market” health care system, the Ravalli Republic reports.

Yet only one doctor was mentioned in the article on the rally, which appears to have had more reporters in attendance than actual rallyers based on the coverage it got.  Sen. Balyeat insisted that:

“the new coalition has 12 to 15 members.

“We are going to try to involve other health care professionals,” Balyeat said. “Right now, it’s almost exclusively doctors.”

Right…perhaps he means “exclusively” the one doctor quoted,  and that one has quite the history.

Annie Bukacek is the leader the movement which has failed three times to collect even half of the signatures needed  to get an abortion ban on the ballot.  The reason it didn’t qualify is because Montanans simply don’t want this garbage in our Constitution.  That the signature gathering was found to be pushed largely by out-of state interests could not have helped. The proposal was so extreme that even Montana’s in-state anti-choice groups refused to get involved.

Posted: August 1, 2012 at 7:11 am

New Billboard Campaign on Medical Marijuana Initiative

A billboard that reads “Welcome to Yellowstone County, Where the Will of the People Doesn’t Count” us up on Montana Avenue in Billings.  The billboard encourages Montanans to vote “NO” on IR-124.

Initiative Referendum 124 (IR-124) is the voter initiative that will appear on this year’s ballot. It allows voters keep or reject the new medical marijuana law passed by the infamous 2011 “Bat Crap Crazy” Montana legislature. (An initiative referendum is the process for citizens to put bills passed by the legislature on the ballot for everyone to vote on.) The new law, Senate Bill 423, sponsored by Billings Republican Jeff Essmann, repealed the citizen initiative voters passed in 2004 in favor of medical marijuana.  A “YES” vote is to keep the Jeff Essmann law, a “NO” vote is to reject it.  (An easy way to remember how to vote on the ballet items this year is to vote “NO” on everything except the one about Citizens United.)

During the 2011 session, the Governor called SB 423 “unconstitutional on its face,” and issued an amendatory veto to fix the parts he considered legally defective.  The legislature rejected his changes.

Essmann had thought to run for Governor on the Republican ticket, but he ended up quickly dropping out of the race.  Everywhere he went, the state Senator from Billings was hounded by by large numbers of angry protestors, upset with Essmann over the his notorious medical marijuana stance. It got so bad that when the Republican announced his campaign for Governor, Essmann did it the only way he could find to avoid the angry crowds:  on a conference call.

So voters got together and collected the signatures to get IR-124 on the ballot to let Montanans have the last word–the chance to vote “YES” or “NO” on whether Jeff Essmann’s medical marijuana bill should stand.

The billboard was put up by the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, best known for its legal challenge to the current medical marijuana law:

“Through their repeal efforts, the legislature ignored the will of the people and claimed to be abiding by it all at the same time,” says Chris Lindsey, President of the MTCIA.  “First, they rushed to repeal the original law and leave patients with nothing.  When that failed, the same group of people came up with their current back-door effort at repeal – by making participation in the state program as painful and risky as possible.   Voters need to regain control of this issue, repeal the current terrible law and demand a realistic set of regulations.  No one wants to go back to the way things were, but what we have now is worse for patients.”

Posted: June 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm

A Wingnut and Prayer

TEA Party Republican Joe Balyeat

Joe Balyeat has resigned from the Bat Crap Crazy Legislature to become the new leader of the Montana TEA Party. The Washington D.C. TEA Party booster club Americans for Prosperity has struggled with keeping and finding leaders since it started meddling in Montana politics in 2009.  Now, the group has quietly instated its fourth new leader in less than three years. Henry Kriegel, Jake Eaton, and  Scott Sales, have all come and gone,  making the organization less about pretending that the TEA Party is a grassroots phenomena and more of a contest to see who can be America’s Next Top Crackpot.  So Joe Balyeat it is.

Balyeat’s first acts as the new TEA Party leader include sending out a robo-call on behalf of TEA Party Dennis Rehberg, which can be heard here.  A leaked photo of Balyeat’s remodel of the TEA Party offices can be seen below. (Don’t tell anyone where you got this, I don’t want AFP to know I have a tipster on the inside.)

Montana Cowgirl Blog readers know Joe Balyeat well.  For some reason, however, the TEA Party’s official biography of Balyeat does not mention that he’s the author of “Babylon: The Great City of Revelation,” (from $7.95 used on Amazon.com) which attempts to make the teabaggers’ case that if Christians don’t get involved in politics, “not only will hell prevail against us, but abortionists and homosexuals and humanists and pornographers and tin-horn TV networks will as well.”
A leaked photo of Joe Balyeat's first work as Americans for Prosperity director

Shortly after Balyeat’s world class work of non-fiction was published, Balyeat became vice-president of the Christian Coalition of Montana.  This was the group that fought to uphold Montana’s unconstitutional law that actually made it illegal to be gay in our state.  When a Montana court struck down the law making it illegal to be gay in the 1990s, the Christian Coalition was outraged, saying that the law making gay people illegal was “a necessary health and safety statute.”  Balyeat is also known for introducing a bill to require creationism to be taught in schools.  His bill failed in committee even though Republicans controlled the legislature by a wide margin.

Balyeat’s TEA Party bio doesn’t mention Balyeat’s attempts to declare war on Montana voters with a myriad of failed and legally flawed ballot initiatives.  In 2006, Balyeat was behind the infamous ballot initiative scandal in which three initiatives were stricken from the ballot after a judge cited “pervasive fraud in the signature gathering process.” (CI-97 would have arbitrarily limited state spending, CI98 allowed for recalling judges for any old reason, and I-154 would have made governments pay corporations if they passed consumer health and safety laws which the big wigs claimed limited their profits.)  This year, the courts rejected two more of Balyeat’s ballot measures: to restrict the ability of every Montanan to vote in all Supreme Court justice races and to gut the Montana budget with a tax give-away to big corporations.

Anyway, it seems Balyeat’s former pursuits weren’t wacky enough so he went looking for another fringe cause.   He definitely found it in Americans for Prosperity.

Posted: February 24, 2012 at 7:19 am

What You Won’t Read in the Gazette about the Arrested Anti-Choice Activist

The man that the Gazette paints as a hapless local minister arrested for tresspassing is actually the national leader of the hardline anti-choice group called “Personhood USA.”

The Billings Gazette calls Calvin Zastrow, “a Billings resident and minister for the Assemblies of God.”  But, a quick Google search of the man (what an amazing tool, Google) reveals a much different picture.

Cal Zastrow co-founded Personhood USA, the out-of-state group pushing initiatives to ban abortion and some forms of birth control in several states. He is the group’s national leader and spokesperson.   He lists a DC phone number and calls himself “America’s premier trainer” for the anti-choice initiative and petition process.  Zastrow boasts that he works today with Operation Rescue.  The group has been linked to the bombing of women’s clinics, not to mention clinic blockades and invasions, arson, bombing and arson threats, death threats, chemical attacks, stalking, physical violence and gunfire.

It turns out the Billings arrest isn’t his first rodeo.  Zastrow has made a career of getting arrested and openly brags about his various arrests and sentences across the U.S.  (Getting arrested is part of his strategy for getting in the press.  We can see it’s working.)  This isn’t even Zastrow’s first arrest in Billings–he worked up a similar scheme when he visited the state over a decade ago.

Cal Zastrow encourages people to get young people involved in the anti-choice movement, “because they have less to lose by getting arrested.”   He thinks his arrests make him a martyr.  He thinks getting arrested allows him to compare himself to Martin Luther King Jr.

Get this:

Cal’s incarceration for loving his neighbor is in the tradition of men like John Bunyan, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Alan Keyes, and Martin Luther King Jr. His longest jail sentence, of 90 days in the Saginaw County Jail, Michigan, leads Cal to conclude that going to jail isn’t as bad as being dismembered by Planned Parenthood.

Sure, he’s been to Montana before.  Zastrow was the national big-wig brought in to kick off the new, more extreme,  Constitution Party of MT. The MT group broke off from the National Constitution Party for being “too liberal.” Zastrow told the splinter group that the problem isn’t political parties:

Instead, Cal says the problem is “demons from hell manifested as lies,” because a “law that lets women murder unborn children is hell.”

The absolute ban on abortion and some forms of birth control that Zastrow is pushing recently failed in Mississippi. In fact, it’s failed in every state that Zastrow’s group has attempted the ballot initiative.

Among all Montana’s anti-abortion activist groups (Montana Catholic Conference, the Montana Family Foundation, the Eagle Forum, the Concerned Women of America, and the Right To Life of Montana not one is supporting the so-called “Personhood Amendment.”

Posted: January 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Happy Roe v. Wade Anniversary Montana

Today is the 39th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. It’s a good time to look at the state of the GOP’s War on Women.

We used to think that it was only guys on street corners with a brown paper bag and a megaphone who really believed that God talked directly to them. Now, we find that these poor fellows have moved into leadership roles in the Republican Party.

Republicans seem to think that they don’t need to know facts and science because they are championing the issues of the Lord: keeping gays from getting jobs, letting cancer victims die with pain and indignity, and forcing women to bear children conceived by rape or incest.

Contrast this with the priorities of voters, who say the economy is the most important issue facing the nation–with social issues trailing way, way behind.  What’s more, recent polls show more people consider themselves pro-choice than pro-life.  Most reasonable people can agree that it should be women, not the government, who makes these decisions-whatever your views on abortion.  Yet the zealots refuse to give up.

Recently, they are obsessed with passing sweeping abortion and birth control bans. So-called “personhood measures,” absolute bans on abortion and birth control, are designed to directly challenge the Roe v. Wade ruling.  Thus far, the ridiculous personhood movement is 0 for 3, losing referendums in Colorado in 2008 and 2010 and in Mississippi last November.

The movement has consistently failed to garner enough signatures to get on the ballot here in Montana.  For one thing, the initiative’s movement was plagued by problems, such as when their leader was caught in a Medicaid fraud probe. The signature gathering was found out to be pushed largely by out-of state interests, and that the proposal was so extreme that even Montana’s in-state nut-jobs urged their followers not to sign or refused to get involved.  Mostly, reason the initiative didn’t qualify for the ballot is because Montanans simply don’t want this garbage in our Constitution.

The nutjobs in the TEA Party Republican legislature disregarded all of this and placed an unconstitutional parental notification measure on the ballot for a vote this fall.  The referendum would require young women seeking an abortion under the age of 16 to notify a parent or appear before a judge in order to have the procedure. Parental Notification laws were already declared unconstitutional by the Montana Court system.

Posted: November 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Political Quick Hits

Supporters Wanted

Behlmer honk and waveSupporters of the right-wing City Commission candidate Lorabelle Behlmer took to the streets in support of her candidacy this weekend–or rather a supporter did.   A Cowgirl tipster captured this photograph of Behlmer’s “Honk and Wave” event.  It doesn’t look like her candidacy was able to garner much of a turnout. Matt Elsaesser and Katherine Haque-Hausrath are running against Behlmer.


More Time Off for Rehberg

Congressional Republicans released their 2012 House calendar recently.  Did you know that there is no month in which they plan to work more than 14 days?  As the Slate Political Gabfest reported on a recent podcast, there are only two weeks of 2012 that the House plans to put in a five-day week like the rest of us. The House will be in session 109 weekdays, and on recess 151 weekdays.   That’s 14 more vacation days than last year.


 Mississippi to Vote on Birth Control Ban Tomorrow

A Mississippi initiative so broad that it would likely mean not just a total ban on abortion, even in cases of rape or incest or to save the mother’s life, but also a ban on birth control and in vitro fertilization will be voted on tomorrow. As USA Today points out in an editorial page piece against the measure:

Backers of “personhood” angrily deny that some of these things would happen, but the amendment says what it says, not what they say it does.

The law is so far outside the mainstream that no state has passed it.  Mississippi’s extreme government intrusion initiative could appear on Montana’s ballot in 2012.  Montanans have twice declined to sign enough petitions to get it put on the ballot and Colorado voters have twice panned the proposal.  According to the same article, only 20 percent of Americans support a total ban on abortion.  If the measure passes in Mississippi  (or in Montana or other states facing petition drives–OH, MI, and FL among others), it would certainly face immediate constitutional challenges.  Whomever is Attorney General in those states would  then defend the initiatives against the challenges.


Caught on Tape

Congressman Dennis Rehberg was caught on tape this weekend waving around a picture of Obama as Qaddafi.  Talking Points Memo has the story, picture and video.   A Rehberg staffer says that the Congressman was just being “polite” by brandishing the cartoon.  But if someone hands you something that ridiculous isn’t the  ”polite” thing to do putting the cartoon away, not promising to give it to a campaign staffer, as he appears to do in the video?  I mean, if he had been handed, say, pornography would he have done the same thing?  As this  Missoula Independent article points out, a classier candidate would have handled the situation differently, while Rehberg “didn’t exactly stand up and set the record straight like McCain did in 2008.”

Posted: September 24, 2011 at 8:17 am

A Look at 2012′s Packed Ballot

There are no less than five citizen initiative proposals that Montanans are trying to get on the ballot though signature gathering campaigns.  This is in addition to the five bad ideas that TEA Party Republicans sent to the ballot to be voted on in 2012.

While people have a general impression that ballot initiatives “are good for turnout,” that’s actually not the case.  Studies have shown time again that while the ability to legislate from the ballot could impact turnout in midterm elections, but it has little or no effect during presidential elections like 2012.

The sheer number of initiatives on the ballot is what is interesting here. There are, so far, ten measures that could be on the ballot.  Five were referred by the legislature, and five are proposed by citizens who must first the signatures necessary.  The general rule of thumb is that the more measures on the ballot, the more likely people are to vote no.  This is partly because people would rather vote for the status quo (vote no) then vote to support something they feel they don’t have enough information on to make a decision.

In this case, since the initiatives are mostly (but not all) bad, this could work in progressives’ favor.  Take a look at what the TEA Party Republicans in the 2011 legislature put on the ballot.:
·    Denying services to undocumented immigrants
·    Gutting the right to medical privacy for women
·    Prohibiting the federal government from enforcing the individual mandate of the ACA
·    Politicizing the election of supreme court justices by district instead of statewide, and
·    Dismantling state government by requiring that money not appropriated by the legislature not be available to future legislatures

This final one might be the worst of the lot.  It would mean that even if there is a large budget surplus like the hundreds of millions we have now, and even if we vote to change the legislature to elect people that will use the surplus the fix the problems caused by the past legislature’s underfunding, our votes won’t matter.    The funding will be sent back to Exxon-Mobil, et al.  Your voice would be silenced.

Here’s an overview of what citizens are trying to get on the ballot–the entire list of proposed initiatives and legislative referenda can be found on the Secretary of State’s web site:

Jury Nullification
This is a proposal to allow juries to say, “the person is guilty, but we don’t like the law so we refuse to convict her.” If you believe that laws should be made under established, open and transparent and visible procedures (and in legislatures accountable to the electorate), you’re probably opposed to this idea.

It’s being pushed by Roger Roots, who the Montana Human Rights Network calls a “racist activist with Montana connections.” The Network became very familiar with Roots when he sued them for $3.7 million for libel in 1994. Roots lost. The Network reports that in 1996, Roger Roots held a rally with Rudy Stanko, a reverend for the racist World Church of the Creator.  Roots is listed as a contributing writer for the racist publication known as “The Jubilee.”

Abortion Ban
This has already failed twice to garner enough support to get on the ballot. In fact, it’s never even come close.  Still, there is no reasoning with fanatics. Despite the fact that according to the most recent polling, 78% of Americans want abortion to remain legal.

Medical Marijuana and Eminent Domain
Here’s where this gets interesting.  These campaigns are both attempts to block two bills passed by the legislature from becoming law.  The first is the unpopular Senate Bill 423, the Jeff Essmann medical marijuana disaster which passed with a veto-proof majority after the legislature voted down a slate of amendatory vetoes. The other is the new eminent domain bill, House Bill 198.

The medical marijuana campaign is expected to get enough signatures by the September 30th deadline.  The eminent domain bill is still uncertain.  Neither issue breaks down along traditional party lines lines. For example, those in favor of green energy and wind power may support the new eminent domain law because it allows transmission lines-the only way to get green energy to market.

On the other hand some environmentalists oppose it because they don’t want the line going through certain areas or because they see it as an increase in corporate power. Conservatives are also divided on the issue. TEA partiers like Art Wittich support the campaign to block the law, while other Republicans want to keep the new law in place.   The web site of the campaign to block the new eminent domain law can be viewed here,  and the site of the campaign to block the new medical marijuana law can be viewed here.

Legalization of Marijuana
Though this initiative has the odd title, “Constitutional right to alcohol and marijuana,”  apparently it is an attempt to get the state to legalize marijuana and treat it like alcohol.

Make it Harder for the Legislature to Change Initiatives
Finally, the initiative to “reserve to the people the power to amend or repeal laws passed by initiative” is a measure that the Billings Gazette reports would require the legislature to send changes or repeal of citizen’s initiatives back to the voters.