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reviewed before backers are allowed ….

reviewed before backers are allowed to gather signatures. Signature gathering was temporarily blocked by a district court judge in Helena, but a Bozeman judge dismissed the case in April.

Two other measures advanced by John Meyer, executive director of Bozeman- based Cottonwood _

Environmental Law Center, also won’t make this year’s ballot, Meyer said earlier this month.

The first, CI-123, would have amended the state Constitution to include “prekindergarten” as part of the public education system guaranteed to Montanans. The second, I-191, would have designated portions of the Gallatin and Madison rivers as “Outstanding Resource Waters,” bypassing the state’s existing review process for that designation, which provides waterways with enhanced environmental protections.

In an email, Meyer blamed the failure of both measures on having his attention consumed by litigation against Knudsen, who had ruled CI123 legally insufficient. That ruling prevented signature gathering on the measure until the insufficiency ruling was overturned by the Montana Supreme Court June 2.

I-191 was approved for signature gathering as of April 5 and CI-123 was approved for signature gathering on June 3. Both measures faced a June 17 deadline for submitting the required signatures to county election offices.

CI-122, this election’s fourth proposed initiative, would have amended the state Constitution so candidates would need to win elections with at least 50 percent of the vote, instead of simply winning the most votes of any candidate in their race, as is currently the case. The amendment would have directed the Montana Legislature to write laws to determine how to deal with elections in which no candidates win majorities, as when candidates in a three-way race each receive less than 50 percent of the vote.

Sponsor Chris Shipp, a Republican political consultant, said that CI-122 wouldn’t qualify for the ballot this year.

Disclosure: Montana Free Press reporter Amanda Eggert is married to Meyer. She was not involved in the production of this story.

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