Updated: The 2010 Arizona Ballot Propositions

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

AZ Flag

The propositions referred to the ballot by the Arizona Legislature are indecent propositions. All but one of these propositions should be defeated by voters in November. The one citizen initiative on the ballot is your call. For a good quick summary, see Arizona 2010 ballot measures – Ballotpedia.

Two of the propositions are designed to permit the Legislature to raid special funds from popular voter-approved programs for use in the general fund ostensibly for the purpose of balancing the state budget.

(Warning: Should Republicans retain control of the Legislature after Election Day, they will reintroduce Rep. Adams' corporate welfare tax giveaway plan, reduce the tax assessment ratio for industrial and commercial property taxes, and repeal the school equalization property tax. Raiding these special funds simply permits shifting funds around within the general fund to pay for these tax cuts which will only exacerbate Arizona's structural revenue deficit indefinitely into the future. The same is also true for the one-half cent sales tax approved by voters in May, ostensibly to be used only for the purpose of public education and public safety. All promises are void after Election Day).

The first of these propositions is Prop. 302, Arizona First Things First Program Repeal, Proposition 302. First Things First is an early childhood development program funded by increased state tobacco taxes, which was approved by voters as Prop. 203 in 2006. The measure would repeal the First Things First program and transfer it's $324 million into the general fund. The money ostensibly would be used for "health and human services for children."

The second of these propositions is Proposition 301, Arizona Land Conservation Fund Transfer, Proposition 301. The Arizona Preserve Initiative was enacted into law in 1996. It is designed to encourage the preservation of select parcels of state Trust land in and around urban areas for open space to benefit future generations. The measure proposes to transfer $123.5 million from the land-conservation fund into the general fund.

The 2011 state budget is based upon presumptions that voters will reverse these popular voter-approved programs in November. I expect that voters will reject both propositions. The 2011 state budget is illusory, it is a "Jan Sham Budget" that fails to comply with the balanced budget requirement of the Arizona Constitution. These ballot propositions are being submitted to voters to close the projected $2.6 billion deficit in the fiscal year 2011 budget that began July 1, and the remaining $700 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2010 budget. Terry Goddard is correct when he says Jan Brewer is hiding the size of the state's current deficit to get herself re-elected. Goddard: Brewer delaying action on state deficit to win re-election.

The present Republican-dominated legislature is the first in Arizona history to fail to produce a balanced state budget by the start of the fiscal year on July 1 in both years of this Legislature. Republicans now want the voters to reward their gross incompetence and reckless fiscal mismanagement with a bailout, i.e., authorizing the legislature to raid these voter-approved special funds to produce a balanced budget after Election Day in November. "No bailouts for Republican fiscal incompetence!"

The next four propositions referred to the ballot by the Arizona Legislature are purely wingnut conservative hot-button issues. The purpose of referring these propositions to the ballot is to turn out the wingnut base of the Republican Party.

The first is an initiative already rejected by Arizona voters in 2008, the so-called "freedom of choice" of health care providers. This initiative was the brain-child of Dr. Eric Novak of Glendale. The Arizona Legislature fast-tracked this proposition to the ballot so that Dr. Novak did not have to spend any of his time or money on another costly initiative.

The measure is back again this year as Prop 106, the Arizona Health Insurance Reform Amendment, Proposition 106. This constitutional amendment purports to exclude Arizona from any national health-care system, i.e., "socialized" government run health-care. The good doctor apparently is unfamiliar with the constitutional kaw doctrine of federal preemption which would invalidate this provision. Perhaps supporters of this wingnut proposal would like to demonstrate their commitment by rejecting their Medicare, Medicaid and CHAMP/VA health-care benefits, all "socialized" government run health-care. Any takers? Anyone?

The amendment also provides that individuals have the right to pay for private health insurance policies, a solution in search of a non-existent problem. The state of Arizona has joined other Republican-dominated states to sue the federal government over the Affordable Care Act of 2010 because it will eventually require healthy young people who do not want to purchase health insurance to participate in the program. This proposition does nothing to address this issue.

The next wingnut measure is Prop. 107, the purposefully misleadingly-named Arizona Civil Rights Amendment, Proposition 107. This proposition is the brain-child of Ward Connerly, the leading spokesperson for the well-financed, corporate-backed, far-right-wing national campaign to end affirmative action. Who is Ward Connerly? Ward Connerly tried to put this initiative on the ballot in 2008, but his initiative failed to attract enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The Arizona Legislature fast-tracked this proposition to the ballot so that Ward Connerly did not have to spend any of his time or money on another costly initiative.

After the anti-immigrant legislation (SB 1070) and anti-ethnic studies legislation enacted by the legislature this year, the Ward Connerly anti-affirmative action proposition would complete the trifecta of "white privilege" laws favored by wingnut Republicans in the Arizona Legislature.

For the record, Arizona has never had much of an affirmative action policy for University admissions or public contract minority-owned business set-asides. The few affirmative action policies that do exist are mostly federal law, for which this proposition will have no effect. This is yet another solution in search of a non-existent problem. But it riles up the "white privilege" wingnut base of the Republican Party.

The next proposition is Prop. 108, the "Republicans hate unions" special session produced Arizona Save Our Secret Ballot Amendment, Proposition 108. This is more of the wingnut opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act currently sidetracked in Congress, which would permit "card check" certification of a union. Other than the Affordable Care Act, no other legislative proposal has had so much misinformation and disinformation spread about it. The original version of this proposition which was invalidated by the courts was the handiwork of Sen. Jonathan Paton, mercifully defeated in his race for Congress. Leave it to a former lobbyist for the predatory payday loan industry to come up with such a misleadingly-named proposition that was defectively drafted.

Union organizing generally involves a two-step process. First, enough employees have to sign a card saying that they want union representation to hold an NLRB sanctioned election. Then there is a statutory election period, followed by a "secret ballot" vote either for or against union representation. The "card check" proposal simply would dispense with the need for an NLRB sanctioned election if a majority of employees sign the card saying they want union representation. There would still be an NLRB sanctioned election with a "secret ballot" vote if 60% of employees want it. The "card check" proposal is already dead for this legislative session in Congress so, once again, this is yet another solution in search of a non-existent problem.

The "rationale" behind this proposition is that unions intimidate workers into signing the cards for union representation. This proposition will prevent "union intimidation" by requiring a "secret ballot" in all union elections. "Payday Paton" would have you believe that employers never engage in threats, intimidation and retaliatory employment actions to dissuade employees from voting for a union. Ha! that never happens. This is why these actions are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act. Unfortunately, Republican administrations have rarely enforced the law or fined employers for unlawful intimidation and retaliation.

The next proposition is a sop to the National Rifle Association. Hasn't this Republican-dominated legislature already given the NRA everything on its wish list? The proposition is Prop. 109, the Arizona Hunting Amendment, Proposition 109, a constitutional amendment to protect the right of citizens to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife lawfully. "Lawful public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife."

Think about this for a moment, folks. The very same people who vehemently deny that there should be any constitutional right to access to health care want to enshrine in the Arizona Constitution the right to hunt and fish. And who exactly is proposing to end hunting and fishing? No one. This is yet another solution in search of a non-existent problem. It certainly is not a "fundamental right" that merits constitutional protection. These same Republicans want to deny First Amendment free exercise of religion to non-Christians, and repeal the 14th Amendment (birthright citizenship) and 17 Amendment (popular vote election of senators). Republicans have seriously misplaced priorities. The Constitution is not to be trivialized.

Have you noticed the pattern here? The Republicans in the Arizona Legislature fiddled with these unnecessary propositions while the state of Arizona burned as a result of their gross incompetence and reckless fiscal mismanagement.

The one proposition which has merit is Prop. 110, the Arizona State Trust Lands Question, Proposition 110. This is a constitutional amendment to the state trust lands provisions which would authorize the exchange of state trust lands in order to protect military installations. This is meant to prevent the encroachment of development around military bases which interferes with the continuing operation of military bases.

The final two propositions referred to the ballot are administrative in nature. The first is a proposition previously referred to voters as Prop. 100 in 1994 which was overwhelmingly rejected by voters 705,766 to 375,336.

Prop. 111, the Arizona Lieutenant Governor Amendment, Proposition 111, once again proposes to rename the office of Secretary of State the Lieutenant Governor and to require each political party's nominee for lieutenant governor run as a ticket with the nominee for governor. (OK geniuses, what about independent candidates, hmmm?) During the primary, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor would run individually. The primary winners then would run as a ticket in the general election. Voters would cast a single vote for governor to elect that party's ticket. The effective date of this constitutional change would begin with the term of office beginning in January 2015.

Those of you who have lived in states that use this model know the inherent electoral politics pitfalls. Just look to Illinois recently. It is true that Arizona has experienced a regular succession of Secretaries of State to the governorship in recent decades, but in general they came from the same political party as the governor they succeeded, with the exceptions of Rose Mofford (D) succeeding the impeached Evan Mecham (R) in 1988, and Jan Brewer (R) succeeding Janet Napolitano (D) in 2009. Arizona's bad experience with the Accidental Governor could cause voters to reconsider their rejection of this proposal back in 1994, but I would be surprised.

The final proposition seeks to curtail citizen initiatives by moving up the filing deadline by two months (It is currently July 1). Arizona Signature Filing Amendment, Proposition 112. The rationale behind this proposition is that the Secretary of State does not have enough time to verify petition signatures. In 2008, then-Secretary of State Jan Brewer approved two measures to the ballot without having satisfied the two qualified signature formulas under Arizona statutory law. This speaks more to Brewer's mismanagement of her office than a problem with current law. Like any business, you hire temporary staff and extend working hours to get the job done during crunch time. Shortening the time to collect signatures for initiatives will have the intended effect of curtailing citizen initiatives to qualify for the ballot.

For example, the only citizen initiative to qualify for the ballot in 2010 is the Arizona Medical Marijuana Question, Proposition 203. If approved, the proposition will allow residents in the state with specific medical conditions to be treated with certain amounts of marijuana for personal use. According to the provisions of the initiative, the Arizona Department of Health Services would be put in charge of regulating the sale and use of medical marijuana. The measure would also allow qualifying patients and caregivers to purchase the drug from specific, closely watched clinics. Patients would also be protected from arrest and prosecution for using the plant for medicinal purposes.

According to a fiscal legislative budget analysis conducted regarding the measure, approximately 66,000 Arizona residents would be able to register under the proposed medical marijuana program. The analysis, performed by the Legislature's budget staff, stated that 39,600 patients would register and that 26,400 approved caregivers would have the projected 66,000 patients by the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the year full implementation the proposal would take effect.

An analysis by the nonpartisan legislative budget staff stated that a medical marijuana tax may take in approximately $1 million for the state's General Fund in 2012. The tax would have to be enacted by the Legislature.

Similar measures have failed three times in the past. There is certain to be a legal challenge to passage of the initiative, delaying the effective date until all court proceedings are final.

I do not make any recommendation on this citizen initiative.

Comments are closed.