3 COMMENTS

  1. And I forgot to mention that the “separate amendment rule” is sometimes called the “single subject rule for amendments”. Oh well.
    (There is only a “single subject rule” per the AZ Constitution for the laws passed by the legislators. Statutory popular initiatives are not restricted, at this time, to a single subject, according to a recent AZ Supreme Court decision.)

  2. Of course in my previous comment I meant the “separate amendment rule”! Sorry about that! I didn’t have a proof-reader available.

  3. Given the Rep. law-makers aim to neuter AZ direct democracy (‘House targeting ballot measures’ by A. Oxford), civic groups need to organize now. What they need to organize is a dedicated direct democracy federation (DDF). They need to get ready to go into action immediately after the next election. They need to pool their resources to not just stop this attack on direct democracy. They need to reverse all the incremental damage done in recent years. If all the big civic groups and many of the smaller groups join together that could be enough to do the job. The window to do this is closing fast.

    This will take one very big effort. So, civic groups should NOT risk relying on the “voter protection act” to safeguard an omnibus statute. It will take a gang of AZ constitutional amendments due to the “single amendment rule”. Amendments are more difficult to put on the ballot as they require more petition signatures. But they are the gold standard. The legislature will have to work a lot harder to change a constitutional amendment. And, by definition, even the “Ducey-packed” AZ Supreme Court will have a hard time declaring any amendment UNconstitutional. Just don’t violate the “single amendment rule”! But the ‘Supreme threat’ still means that the language of all the ballot amendment measures needs to be very tight (free of ambiguity and contradictory clauses). They must be immune from any nullifying ‘re-interpretation’ by the state’s hand-packed Ducey ‘Supremes’.

    The key things are: 1) organize early; 2) figure out what you need to do, how much you need to do, and how you need to do it; 3) vet the hell out of the text of the amendment proposals before the next general election(!), using the legislature’s staff and even AG Brnovich’s staff (he’ll be pissed); and then 4) be ready to use all 20 months available to circulate the petitions, and don’t stop until you have an overwhelming number! Gathering signatures helps publicize the ballot initiative, and solicit more donations. And the sheer numbers of signatures just by themselves can be a potent argument for passage.

    Given what the corona-virus may do to make gathering enough signatures harder, both the ‘Invest in Ed’ and ‘Save Our Schools’ ballot efforts may regret starting so late! Why take such chances. Follow the “Outlaw Dirty Money” example. They learned the lesson, the hard way. Start as early as possible! Get everything done that can be done before the 20-month signature-gathering window begins. Use all 20 months to gather signatures! With 20 months and the combined resources (money, staff, expertise, and volunteers) the monetary cost per signature will be lower, and the cost per civic group will be smaller.

    Civic organizations need a permanent direct democracy confederation. Then they all have a credible threat to ‘recall’ (for a popular referendum) any non-emergency law passed by the law-makers before it becomes effective. That can get them a small seat at the legislative negotiating table before final versions of laws are passed.

    There is NO government reform civic group with progressive public policy goals that will NOT benefit from a direct democracy federation (DDF). Similarly, there is NO civic group with progressive goals that will NOT benefit from an increase in state government revenue via a graduated rate (progressive) income tax increase. Ballot measures change the agenda. They bring out new voters. Progressive ballot measures create issues that progressive candidates can run on. This may be the quickest way to help Arizonans break the mindless “(R)-habit” when voting. A voter’s cognitive-dissonance from hearing an “(R)” candidate bad-mouth a proposition that the voter agrees with can be a mind-altering experience. A DDF can do the polling surveys to find the best issues to put on the ballot to provide these experiences.

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