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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 ?
And in Alaska, citizens would be automatically registered to vote when they sign up for the Permanent Fund if a citizen initiative passes there.
A citizen initiative in South Dakota, a right-to-work state, would allow "nonprofits and corporate organizations" (including unions) to collect fees from nonmembers.
This is not the same citizen initiative process that was introduced in the '60s," Doug Bailey, chief political officer of Associated Industries of Florida, told the committee.
Wilcox, however, went on to defend the merits of the citizen initiative process and reminded the committee of its virtues.
As Exhibit I shows, the number of citizen initiatives reached a peak of 23 in the 1996 election.
Because of Oregon's active initiative environment, the City of Portland has engaged in a number of practices to mitigate, defer, or avoid the potential negative financial and credit impacts of citizen initiatives.
With these constitutional protections in place, issuers can seek to insulate themselves from citizen initiatives that would require a rollback of rates or even voter approval of rate increases by making contractual commitments with bondholders that would be violated or impaired if the provisions of a future citizen initiative were imposed.
In addition, it provides an easy way to buy protection from future citizen initiatives that might otherwise severely constrain good financial management of the utility or enterprise.
Despite efforts to mitigate the effects of citizen initiatives, the borrowing plans and programs of state and local governments will be affected by the restrictions imposed by these measures.
Citizen initiatives often mandate expensive programs or policies without creating new revenue.
Referrals from state legislatures typically far outnumber citizen initiatives on the ballot.
Twenty-four states, in varying degrees, allow citizens to change state law or the state constitution by obtaining enough valid signatures to place a citizen initiative on the ballot.

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