19-142. Referendum petitions against municipal actions; emergency measures; zoning actions
A. The whole number of votes cast at the citywide or townwide election at which a mayor or councilmen were chosen last preceding the submission of the application for a referendum petition against an ordinance, franchise or resolution shall be the basis on which the number of electors of the city or town required to file a referendum petition shall be computed. For the purposes of this section, a citywide or townwide election is an election at which all of the qualified electors of a city or town are eligible to vote for a mayor or members of the city or town council. The petition shall be filed with the city or town clerk within thirty days after passage of the ordinance, resolution or franchise.
B. A city or town ordinance, resolution or franchise shall not become operative until thirty days after its passage by the council and approval by the mayor, unless it is passed over the mayor's veto, and then it shall not become operative until thirty days after final approval and until certification by the clerk of the city or town of the minutes of the meeting at which the action was taken, except emergency measures necessary for the immediate preservation of the peace, health or safety of the city or town. An emergency measure shall not become immediately operative unless it states in a separate section the reason why it is necessary that it should become immediately operative, and unless it is approved by the affirmative vote of three-fourths of all the members elected to the city or town council, taken by ayes and noes, and also approved by the mayor.
C. At the time a person or organization intending to file a referendum petition against an ordinance or resolution applies for the issuance of an official number pursuant to section 19-111, the city or town clerk shall provide such person or organization with a full and correct copy of the ordinance or resolution in the form as finally adopted. If the copy of the ordinance or resolution proposed as a referendum is not available to such person or organization at the time of making application for an official number or on the same business day as the application is submitted, the thirty-day period prescribed in subsection A of this section begins on the day that the ordinance or resolution is available from the city or town clerk, and the ordinance or resolution shall not become operative until thirty days after the ordinance or resolution is available.
D. Notwithstanding subsection C of this section, a person or organization may file a referendum petition against the rezoning of a parcel of property on the approval by the city or town council of the ordinance that adopts the rezoning or on the approval of that portion of the minutes of the city or town council that includes the council's approval of the rezoning, whichever occurs first. The thirty day period prescribed in subsection A of this section begins on the day that the rezoning ordinance or approved minutes or portion of the approved minutes are available from the city or town clerk and the ordinance is not operative until thirty days after the ordinance or minutes are available.