Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Kiley today denied an effort by an APS-backed effort – along with the Chamber of Commerce and some lawmakers – to knock the Clean Energy initiative off of the November ballot. An APS representative has already indicated that an appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court is coming.
After a five-day trial, Judge Kiley found that most of the challenges by Arizonans for Affordable Energy were not proven and/or appropriate. The group had claimed that only 22% of the submitted signatures should be considered valid, which would have left Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona considerably short of the 225k signature threshold.
During the trial, Kiley did throw out the 40k+ (otherwise-valid) signatures gathered by paid circulators who did not show up for the trial after being subpoenaed, and he did strike approximately 79k challenged signatures for other reasons. The Judge did not give a final hard figure after taking those into consideration, as well as the high validity rate found by County Recorders in their statutorily-mandated 5% sample.
However, he did explicitly deny two allegations that had been highly touted by AAE – that the circulators had not been inappropriately-paid based on their signature output (the Legislature banned that following the minimum wage initiative in 2016) and that the Committee’s internal notes that only 47.28% of the signatures that they were about to turn in indictated that they should not have been permitted to submit all of their signatures.
The Clean Energy Committee – the ballot measure will be labeled as Proposition 127 – celebrated the verdict in what they called a “desperate lawsuit…that demonstrated the length that APS will go to stop voters from having their say on a 50% renewable energy standard by the year 2030.”
Spokesman DJ Quinlan told Arizona’s Politics that he expects an appeal and that “the original contention of the lawsuit was that nearly 75% of our signatures were invalid. They were clearly just lying about that.”
Arizonans for Affordable Energy has not yet responded to our requests, but APS lobbyist Chad Guzman tweeted that an appeal is imminent.
— Chad Guzman (@ChadGuzman) August 27, 2018
(The full ruling by Judge Kiley can be read here.)