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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
found that the State's disapproval of the school board's busing remedy was an aggravation of the very racial injury in which the State itself was complicit." (157) But just as the state in Schuette took a position in defense of the anti-affirmative action voter initiative, the state in Seattle acted in defense of the anti-busing voter-initiative.
California was not the first state to allow for voter initiatives. In the 1880's and '90's a strong populist movement emerged in the country, particularly in the West and Midwest, and with it a push for direct democracy or direct legislation by the people.
Much of this constitutional and statutory structure has been brought about not by legislative fact-gathering and deliberation, but rather by the approval of voter initiative measures, often funded by special interests.
Fiscal effects of the voter initiative in the first half of the 20th century.
This whole issue should have been redressed in a simple manner by the state legislature, rather than by a voter initiative.
The voter initiative process historically has addressed taxes and financial bonds, but increasingly in recent years voters have used the initiative process to express their will on social issues, such as drug and justice policy reform, treatment of minority groups, and human services delivery.
Only two states, she said, have passed laws regulating the insurance cycle: California (which did so by voter initiative) and Illinois, but the latter also passed a cap on damages at the same time.
Immigration has mobilized Hispanic voters in the past, most notably in California after the 1994 passage of Proposition 187, a voter initiative to cut off public services for illegal immigrants.
For example, the bill could preempt California's Proposition 65, a voter initiative that requires businesses to warn consumers and workers before exposing them to contaminants that the state has identified as either a carcinogen or reproductive toxicant.