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.

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