Category Archives: Ballot Referendas and Initiatives

(Update) House Tea-Publicans vote to restrict your constitutional right to make laws

The unrelenting assault on your constitutional rights by the Chamber of Commerce organizations and their lickspittle lackeys in our lawless Tea-Publican legislature continues unabated. The Chambers’ package of bills to take away your constitutional rights passed in the House on Thursday.

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona House passes bills to restrict citizen initiatives:

In an attempt to gain control over laws proposed by citizens, [Tea-Publicans in] the House on Thursday night approved a package of bills designed to rein in the century-old initiative process enshrined in the Arizona Constitution at statehood.

Opponents say the moves would undercut the power of the people to shape laws, and run counter to the citizen initiative process, while proponents argue lawmakers need the flexibility to fix unforeseen problems that might arise from a ballot measure. The measures now move to the Senate for consideration.

Four bills affect the initiative process. Two ask the voters to review the 19-year-old Voter Protection Act that blocks the Legislature from changing voter initiatives; the other two make changes to the laws governing initiatives. They passed along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed, in a contentious session that lasted late into the night.

Even if the bills win Senate approval in the coming weeks, two would need voter approval in November 2018. Two others would go to Gov. Doug Ducey for his signature.

Still pending is a bill that would change the way signatures are gathered on citizen initiative petitions. House Concurrent Resolution 2029 won approval from a committee late Wednesday but was held up from a full vote over questions about its constitutionality.

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(Update) House Tea-Publicans vote to restrict your constitutional right to make laws

Last week I posted about how Tea-Publican newbie legislator Rep. Todd Clodfelter (R-Tucson) was the decisive vote in committee to advance a package of bills from our corporate overlords in the Chamber of Commerce organizations to restrict your constitutional rights to the initiative and referendum process. House Tea-Publicans vote to restrict your constitutional right to make laws.

This week it is Rep. Vince Leach (R-Tucson) who is carrying water for our corporate overlords in the Chamber of Commerce organizations and doing the bidding of his “dark money” masters. Arizona lawmakers advance bill to limit voter initiatives:

Spurred by business interests in the wake of a voter-approved minimum-wage hike, Republican lawmakers approved legislation Thursday that could curtail the ability of citizens to create their own laws.

The most significant provision of HB 2404 would effectively eliminate the ability of groups to use paid circulators by prohibiting payment by the number of signatures gathered.

Paid circulators would still be allowed — but only if compensated on an hourly or other basis. But that removes any incentive for circulators to gather as many signatures as possible.

“It reforms the incentive for fraud and forgery,” said Rep. Vince Leach, R-Tucson, who is carrying the legislation that was largely crafted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The measure approved by the House Government Committee on a party-line vote and sent to the full House also imposes a series of new procedural hurdles and gives those who oppose initiatives new rights to try to have them knocked off the ballot before voters get a chance to weigh in.

The legislation also requires strict compliance with all initiative requirements, something Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr said could result in disqualifying petitions simply because their margins are not the right size.

And it would require any initiative committee that uses paid circulators to purchase a bond of up to $50,000.

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AZ Supreme Court to consider Prop. 206 Minimum Wage appeal

The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments by Chamber of Commerce organizations that the new voter-approved minimum wage, Prop. 206, violates the state’s Constitution. State Supreme Court agrees to take up minimum wage case:

The Arizona Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction of the case and announced Tuesday afternoon it will hold a hearing on March 9. At the heart of the issue, which the court will hear, is the claim that Proposition 206 violates the Constitution’s revenue source rule. The case was brought by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and other business groups and supported by Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican legislative leaders.

Justices had declined to block the minimum wage from taking effect on January 1, spurning an appeal from those same business groups after their initial complaint was struck down in Maricopa County Superior Court. Now attorneys will again argue that Proposition 206 violates a requirement in the Arizona Constitution that any new voter-mandated spending designate a funding source to cover its costs. The funding stream may not come from the general fund.

Attorneys for the chamber had offered up other legal arguments against the law in Superior Court, but the Supreme Court will only hear arguments concerning the revenue source rule. Opponents of the minimum wage hike contend the state is forced to increase spending for services through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, which contracts with service providers to ensure people have access to care.

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House Tea-Publicans vote to restrict your constitutional right to make laws

Our authoritarian Tea-Publican legislators in the Arizona House advanced four of five bills on Thursday taking aim at restricting Arizona citizens’ constitutional right to propose laws through an initiative, and to limit or repeal the Voter Protection Act.

Howard Fischer reports, GOP lawmakers advance measures to rein in citizens’ ballot-initiative rights:

The package of legislation comes on the heels of intensive lobbying by Chamber of Commerce organizations upset that 2016 voters approved hiking the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour now, and eventually to $12 an hour by 2020.

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The effort does not seek repeal of the right of voters to enact their own laws, which dates to the first days of statehood. Instead, these proposals, all approved on a 5-3 party-line vote by the House Government Committee, seek to rein them in (i.e., make it more difficult and expensive, if not impossible).

The Arizona Daily Star’s Tim Steller explains that the votes came down to a new Tea-Publican legislator from Tucson, Rep. Todd Clodfelter (LD 10), who voted with his authoritarian colleagues from the state of Maricopa. A tie vote would have defeated the bills in committee. Political Notebook: Arizona legislators look to seize voters’ powers:

So now [Tea-Publican legislators] must rise up from their undignified trampling and take away our misused initiative rights.

That’s the upshot of five measures introduced in the House of Representatives, four of which passed out of committee Thursday with a decisive vote in favor from a Tucson legislator. Todd Clodfelter, a new Republican representive in Legislative District 10, approved the measures despite efforts to sway him against and to kill the bills in committee.

This guy was only elected in November because zombie Tea-Publicans who vote out of GOP tribalism for anyone with an “(R)” behind their name single-shotted him, helping him to defeat one of the most able and decent legislators we had in the Arizona legislature, Stefanie Mach. That was a travesty and an injustice. Let’s ensure that this guy is a one-termer.

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Tea-Publican legislators, doing the bidding of our corporate overlords, are coming for your constitutional rights

I warned you about this earlier this year. Arizona’s authoritarian Tea-Publicans are coming for your constitutional rights.

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) has a lengthy report, A raft of bills would make Arizona’s initiative process more difficult:

More than a century after Arizona’s voters gave themselves a Constitution and the right to write laws, legislators still can’t quite accept the fact that they have competition.

And this year [Tea-Publican] legislators, backed by powerful business interests including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, are preparing to launch a sustained assault on the initiative process.

Legislators this year have proposed a rash of bills designed to make the initiative process more difficult. They’re proposing tougher signature-gathering requirements for groups seeking to change the law and restrictions on funding streams for initiative campaigns.

They’re also seeking an outright repeal of the Voter Protection Act, which prevents lawmakers from simply repealing voter-approved laws, or even changing them unless that change has bipartisan support and furthers the intent of the proposition.

Failing that, they’re hoping voters will at least go along with some reforms to the Voter Protection Act.

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School ‘vouchers for all’ bill is baaack!

I have warned you for months now that the “vouchers for all” bill would be back in this legislative session, and sure enough . . .

Howard Fischer reports, Arizona proposal would expand ‘vouchers’ for private, parochial schools:

State lawmakers are making a new attempt to provide taxpayer-provided dollars to all 1.1 million students in Arizona schools to help their parents pay to instead send them to private and parochial schools.

The proposal by Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, would dramatically expand what has been a small program now reserved for students with special needs and those in failing schools. It would create what amounts to a universal “voucher” (aka “vouchers for all”) of state funds that could be used to pay tuition and fees at other (private and parochial) schools.

Now, this is the point where Howie should point out that this is unconstitutional, but nowhere in his report does he even mention this critical fact. Bad Howie!

The Arizona Constitution prohibits state funding to private and parochial schools:

Article 2, Section 12: “No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise, or instruction, or to the support of any religious establishment.”

Article 11, Section 7: “No sectarian instruction shall be imparted in any school or state educational institution that may be established under this Constitution, and no religious or political test or qualification shall ever be required as a condition of admission into any public educational institution of the state, as teacher, student, or pupil;”

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