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Opponents Try for Ballot Measure Banning Refugee Center

Opponents Try for Ballot Measure Banning Refugee Center

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CSI Refugee Center

Rick Martin, leader of the Committee to End the CSI Refugee Center, speaks during a public meeting Monday at the College of Southern Idaho.

TWIN FALLS • Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs is reviewing a petition for a ballot measure that seeks to ban the refugee center.

Loebs said his office got the proposed initiative Tuesday and has 10 days to give a legal opinion on it. The sponsors can then change it based on Loebs’ legal feedback, but they don’t have to.

Tuesday, Loebs declined to release a copy of the proposed initiative or say what he thinks of it legally, but said it calls for a county ordinance banning the refugee center and would impose fines and jail time on county commissioners if they refuse to do so.

Twenty signatures are needed to get a proposed initiative reviewed, but after that, it’s a much higher bar to get it on the county ballot in May. They’ll need the signatures of 20 percent of the number of people who voted in the county in the last general election. That’s nearly 3,800 signatures, going by the number of votes cast for governor in 2014.

The refugee program, administered by the College of Southern Idaho, has become controversial since news broke this spring that some Syrians would likely be among the several hundred refugees expected to be resettled here in October. Rick Martin, the head of the Committee to End the CSI Refugee Center, didn’t immediately return a call Tuesday afternoon.


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