Lawmakers not bound by outcome of education referendum

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- The widely reported uneasy interaction between Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and debate opponent Rep. Brian Cronin (D-Boise) at the end of the City Club forum on education reform this week shows just how high emotions are regarding Luna's "Students Come First" program.

But even if opponents of Luna's three laws repeal them at the polls Nov. 6, it does not necessarily mean the controversial changes in public schools will come to a screeching halt.

Former Idaho Attorney General David Leroy explains.

"If a referendum rejects laws, the people have simply stated their opinion at the moment," Leroy told KBOI 2News. "The very next legislature can come along and adopt news laws in the area or adopt the same old laws if they choose not to follow the people's opinion."

And if lawmakers declare an emergency, the legislation they pass takes effect immediately.

Something like this scenario actually has happened before. In 2002, the Idaho Legislature overwhelmingly rejected a voter initiative that established term limits.

Nobody knows what's going to happen at the polls Nov. 6, but don't expect the argument over school funding, teachers and laptops to go away anytime soon.