Initiative & Referendum Institute

at the University of Southern California 


Process Available





Elections Division



Constitutional and Statutory Provisions



Kentucky does not provide for the initiative or referendum at the state level. Populist state senator J. H. McConnell pushed a statewide I&R bill through the state senate in 1900, but it failed in the state house. The state approved a law in 1910 establishing the initiative process in most of the state’s cities. By the 1970s the local I&R law applied to all of the state’s 27 largest cities except Louisville, but in 1980, the legislature passed a new municipal government law which abolished the provision. Lexington-Fayette currently provides the initiative process.

Only a handful of ballot propositions have come before the voters in the 21st century through legislative proposals. The most notable was a constitutional amendment in 2004 defining marriage as solely between one man and one woman. Voters approved the measure with 75 percent in favor.




© 2014 Initiative & Referendum Institute

University of Southern California

Los Angeles CA 90089-0071