Back in August, Tucson scored another direct hit on the ‘Kochtopus’ Death Star:
In 2012, Rep. Michelle Ugenti (R-Scottsdale), a storm trooper for the “Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute, sponsored HB 2826 (consolidated election dates; political subdivisions), a bill providing for the consolidation of elections in the fall of even numbered years only. The law will apply to elections in 2014 and thereafter.
Last August , Judge James E. Marner of the Pima County Superior Court entered his ruling after trial of this matter to the court in City of Tucson v. State of Arizona et al. (Case No. C20126272). Judge Marner ruled in favor of the Charter Cities of Tucson and Phoenix, and against the Arizona legislature. The 10 page ruling is Here.
Fast-forward to this week when the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in favor of the Charter City rebels, led by Tucson and Phoenix. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Appeals court frees Arizona cities to hold elections when they want:
Phoenix, Tucson and the state’s 17 other charter cities can have their local elections pretty much when they want, no matter what state legislators say, the Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled.
Read the Court of Appeals ruling Here (.pdf).
This week, the Empire Strikes Back. Attorney General Tom “banned for life by the SEC” Horne has filed an appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court in defense of this Goldwater Institute backed law.
The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Attorney general challenges city election ruling:
This summer, the Court of Appeals upheld the ability of charter cities to pick dates for their elections, arguing that the state-mandated election alignment “improperly intrudes on the constitutional authority of charter cities” when it conflicts with a city’s charter.
The cities of Phoenix and Tucson, which are governed by charters that require elections in odd years, have challenged the state law.
On Oct. 17, the Attorney General’s Office filed a 19-page petition submitted to the Supreme Court, arguing that the appellate court’s opinion conflicts with case law and is in inconsistent with the state Constitution. State attorneys insist that it authorizes the Legislature to enact laws regarding city elections and recognizes a statewide interest in uniform elections.
The issue before the court is whether the state’s interests in increasing voter turnout and decreasing costs through the uniform election requirement is a matter of valid statewide interest and whether the timing of city elections is a purely local matter, state attorneys said. [These arguments were rejected in the court opinions above.]
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In invalidating the 2012 law, the Court of Appeals said the aim of the Constitution’s home rule provision is to render charter cities as nearly independent as is possible from state legislation.
The appellate court also noted the Supreme Court’s conclusions that charters have autonomy over local matters.
The Arizona Supreme Court should decline this appeal, affirming the well reasoned Court of Appeals decision.