I warned you about this last week. Authoritarian Movement Conservatives Assault The Voter Protection Act. Their utter contempt for the voters of this state knows no bounds.
Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature have now advanced this bill. House panel pushes for more control over voter-enacted laws:
A House panel voted Monday to ask voters to give lawmakers back some of the powers they took from them to overturn ballot measures nearly two decades ago.
HCR 2043 (.pdf) would effectively repeal a 1998 voter-approved constitutional provision [the Voter Protection Act] which says once an initiative has been adopted it can be altered by lawmakers only if it “furthers the purpose’’ of the original measure. Even then, it takes a three-fourths vote of both the House and Senate.
And rescinding outright what voters have approved is illegal.
The proposal by Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, would instead say that lawmakers could do whatever they want to what voters approve in the future as long as they do it by the same margin as it was approved by the voters.
So if a future proposal passed with 53 percent, as what happened with a tobacco tax hike a decade ago, it would take just 16 of 30 senators and 32 of 60 representatives to rescind it.
Mesnard told members of the House Elections Committee this change would take place if voters agree in November. And he stressed it is prospective only and would not allow lawmakers to alter anything approved before this year.
But it would permit them to step in and overturn any move this year by voters to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
“It’s trying to strike the right balance to what level of support something has to have at the ballot before we, for all practical purposes, lock it in stone,’’ Mesnard said. “Something can squeak by with 50.1 percent and we pretty much have it.’’
Sandy Bahr, lobbyist for the Sierra Club, said that’s not true. She said if lawmakers have a problem with an initiative that’s approved they can “refer it to the ballot, take it to the voters, and see if they support you.’’
And Bahr said if there are logistical problems in implementing something voters want, the existing constitutional measure does permit alterations, albeit with a three-fourths vote of the Legislature. She acknowledged that likely means the Republicans who control both the House and the Senate would need to get the cooperation of at least a few Democrats but said “that’s not a bad thing.’’
Doris Provine, president of the Arizona Advocacy Network, dubbed the measure the “voter-underminer bill.’’
She talked about the difficulty of even getting a measure to the ballot.
A statutory change currently requires 150,642 valid signatures, a figure based on 10 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election. Constitutional proposals need 225,963 signatures.
Provine said it’s virtually impossible to meet that goal without paid circulators, an expensive process. Then there’s the cost of the campaign itself.
Mesnard sniffed at those concerns, saying if a measure is so popular there would be “people signing up left and right.’’
Mesnard is the waterboy for the “Kochtopus,” i.e., the Goldwater Institute and ALEC. When they want to put something on the ballot, they just need a simple majority of our lawless Tea-Publican legislature to refer their ballot measures to the ballot, no signatures or expense required.
But when the citizens of this state are compelled to put legislation on the ballot by a citizens initiative, requiring signatures and expense to do so, this “Kochtopus” waterboy wants the right to rescind the will of the voters.
The only thing the voters of this state should rescind is J.D. Mesnard serving in any elected office, ever again.
Kill this bill!