AZ Lege seeks to repeal the GOP Voter Suppression Act, HB 2305, to deprive the voters of their ‘citizens veto’

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

EmilyLitellaSeveral capitol observers have been warning about this possibility for some time now. The face of voter suppression in Arizona, Sen. Michele Reagan (R-Scottsdale), is now preparing to proceed with a despicable plan to deprive the voters of Arizona of their citizens referendum ("citizens veto") of the GOP Voter Suppression Act, HB 2305, that she co-authored by pulling an Emily Litella: "Never mind!"

That's right, the evil GOP bastards, seeking to deprive the Democratic Party of a major motivational tool for their base voters to turn out in force in November, is proposing to repeal HB 2305, and then to enact portions of the law as new legislation. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Legislators consider preemptive repeal of controversial election bill:

Lawmakers are considering introducing legislation to repeal last year’s election reform bill, HB2305, which remains on hold because opponents gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on the law this November.

Republican Sen. Michele Reagan of Scottsdale said she is working with leadership to repeal the bill before it goes up for the referendum election. However, she would like lawmakers to go back and pass portions of the bill once again in 2015.

“I would prefer, as I think everyone would prefer, the a la carte method, which is the way I introduced them last year… There are certainly parts of that bill that I support more than others,” Reagan said.

The law has been enjoined until the voters either approve it or reject it in November.  But the legislature could preemptively repeal the bill, killing opponents’ opportunity to knock the law down via a vote of the people.

Reagan said the push to pre-emptively repeal the law comes from the concern that if the referendum were successful, and the law struck down, the Voter Protection Act would prohibit lawmakers from making changes in state statutes governing elections in the future.

Reagan said the possibility of having large portions of the state’s election laws locked down was an unintended consequence of HB2305 that no one saw coming, which is why she’s asking GOP leadership in the Senate to sponsor the repeal.

In other words, the evil GOP bastards fucked up. They didn't consider the law of unintended consequences. The GOP Voter Suppression Act could be turned against them should voters reject HB 2305 in November, as anticipated. So the evil GOP bastards will now take that bright shiny object away from an angry electorate, and slither in like the sneaky-snakes they are to enact the very same legislation under a multiplicity of separate bills later, making any referendum effort nigh impossible.

Now you are asking yourself whether the Arizona Legislature can actually do this, and unfortunately, the answer appears to be "yes." There is at least one Arizona case precedent, McBride v. Kerby, 32 Ariz. 525, 260 P. 435 (1927), the headnotes of which read:

When an act of the Legislature is referred, that particular act is suspended in operation, but such suspension does not deprive the Legislature of the right thereafter to pass, in the legal manner, any measure it may deem advisable, notwithstanding such measure may deal with exactly the same subject as the referred act, and in the same manner,  but subject to the same right of reference as was the original act.

Yeah, BFD. For the thousands of Arizonans who endured the intense Arizona summer heat to collect enough valid signatures to put the referendum of HB 2305 on the ballot, it is little comfort to tell them that they can do it all again. Not in an election year when there are multiple campaigns and measures headed for the ballot that would drain resources and volunteers.

The evil GOP bastards are reticent to pass the same legislation this year; they prefer to wait for the new legislature in 2015. But all that could change before sine die sometime in May. The evil GOP bastards could sneak through a strike-everything amendment in the dead of night like they did with HB 2305 and then leave town.

Republican Sen. John McComish of Ahwatukee, who voted for the bill and now supports a repeal, said he doesn’t know if lawmakers would want to pass the law again, or provisions of the law, given that the courts would probably look unfavorably on the effort.

“What will happen along those lines, I don’t have any idea. But if you think of a court in the middle of this, if we went back and passed the individual pieces, a judge would probably say ‘Well, wait a minute. You didn’t really repeal the law. You repealed it and then reinstituted it.’ So we’d have to be careful of that,” McComish said.

Republican Sen. Adam Driggs of Phoenix, who has had discussions with both Reagan and McComish about repealing the law, said he can’t control what bills lawmakers decide to introduce.  But he said he would discourage lawmakers from immediately sponsoring new legislation including measures from a repealed HB2305.

“I’m not anxious to do that and I don’t have the intention to do that,” Driggs said. “There’s a lot of issues in that bill, some are more meritorious, some are less meritorious, and there are things that the Legislature should address.”

“It has to be a true repeal,” he added.

But Reagan said she’d like to see at least some of the issues included in HB2305 revisited – perhaps next session – as separate pieces of legislation, not an omnibus bill as was passed last year.

“There’s nothing to say that somebody couldn’t revisit it or run their own bill… There were parts in there that no one would have problems with,” Reagan said.

Even without HB 2305 on the ballot in November, let this be a motivational reason to turn these evil GOP bastards out of office and to hold them accountable for their anti-democratic actions.

One response to “AZ Lege seeks to repeal the GOP Voter Suppression Act, HB 2305, to deprive the voters of their ‘citizens veto’

  1. If the legislature repeals 2305, every member who voted for it should either be brought up for recall or voted out of office in November. Repealing the statute would truly be voter suppression.