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A process of a participatory democracy that empowers the people to propose legislation and to enact or reject the laws at the polls independent of the lawmaking power of the governing body.

The purpose of an initiative, which is a type of election commenced and carried out by the people, is to permit the electorate to resolve questions where their elected representatives fail to do so or refuse to proceed with a change that the public desires.

See: initial, original, overture, preparatory, rudimentary

INITIATIVE, French law. The name given to the important prerogative given by the charte constitutionelle, art. 16, to the late king to propose through his ministers projects of laws. 1 Toull. n. 39. See Veto.

References in periodicals archive ?
Business interests from the forestry industry submitted a proposed ordinance to the commissioners that would allow them to block any citizen ballot initiative that the commissioners decide is not "of county concern" before people have a chance to vote on it.
Should development of Donlin Creek, which includes Barrick Gold as a 50 percent partner, be blocked due to the water ballot initiatives, a significant economic opportunity for the region would be mired in lawsuits or would simply dry up and disappear.
Meanwhile, a host of well-funded ultraconservative groups and foundations are pouring money into ad campaigns and ballot initiatives in a massive effort to wreck public education and undermine church-state separation.
The San Manuel Band alone spent $25 million on a single ballot initiative, more than $300,000 for each of its 85 members.
The Northeast had the most ballot initiatives (111) and the highest rate of approval (86 percent)).
Proposition 211 prompted the costliest campaign ever over a California ballot initiative.
According to APTA, the recent transportation ballot initiatives authorized public transportation expenditures approximating $40 billion.
Even though other antigay ballot initiatives in recent years were defeated by voters, the tact that they made it onto the ballot was a telling sign, he says.
The judge agreed with Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly, who had earlier ruled that putting the question on the ballot would violate another provision of the state constitution that bans ballot initiatives relating to "religion, religious practices or religious institutions.
Because of the District's charter, the federal government retains the ability to overturn ballot initiatives and is expected to do so in this case.