SALT LAKE CITY -- Two Top of Utah cities' battles with referendum petitions in 2010 have lawmakers looking at how to make it easier for residents to get their initiatives on a ballot.
In North Ogden last year, residents wanted voters to decide whether they should bond for $10 million for a new public works facility.
In Kaysville, a citizens group wanted voters to decide whether the city should change its form of government.
In both cases, those who gathered signatures watched as their petitions were deemed invalid for lack of enough signatures and because, in one case, stapled pages came undone.
Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, is sponsoring SB 17, which was passed 27-0 Wednesday by the Senate. The bill now goes before the House for further consideration.
"This bill was suggested by the lieutenant governor's office," Jenkins said.
It would require those who are gathering signatures to staple or stitch in three places at the top of the packet to keep the pages together.
Currently, packets are stapled in one spot at the top.
Also, the person who verifies the signatures would have to sign once on the last page of each packet.
Now, the person who gathers the signatures must sign on the back of each sheet of the packet as verification.
Jenkins also believes a law that was passed last session, requiring 35 percent of registered voters to sign a petition in order to change a budget passed by a government entity, is too high of a requirement.
His bill proposes to lower the requirement to 25 percent of registered voters.
Jenkins said his constituents in North Ogden were unable to reach the 35 percent mark in the time allotted to put the bond question on the November ballot.
"I think we made the threshold too high," Jenkins said, adding that the process was "just not fair."
He said all other initiatives need signatures of only 25 percent of registered voters to place an issue on the ballot.