Monday, March 7, 2016

AZ legislature believes in power from the people

Notice the headline does not say power to the people.

Here is what the current law says.

In 1998, voters passed Proposition 105 that amended the Arizona Constitution relating to initiative and referendum measures. The Legislature does not have the power to repeal an initiative or referendum measure decided or approved by a majority of the votes cast; however, the Legislature may amend, supersede or transfer funds designated by the initiative or referendum if: 1) the amending legislation furthers the purpose of the measure; and 2) receives at least three-fourths vote of the members of each house of the Legislature by a roll call vote (Arizona Constitution, Article IV, Part 1, § 1).

And here is what HCR 2043 would do to it.

HCR 2043, upon voter approval, modifies the Legislature’s power to amend, divert funds or supersede (revise) a voter-approved ballot initiative or referendum measure.

1. Allows the Legislature to revise a ballot initiative or referendum measure approved 2016 or later if:
a. the Legislature approves the revision by a greater percentage than the percentage of voters that approved the initiative or referendum; and
b. for measures approved by two-thirds of the votes cast, the revision must further the purpose.
2. Requires the SOS to submit this proposition to the voters at the next general election.

The Sierra Vista Herald published a blistering critique that appeared in the Green Valley News.

The thirst for political power at the state Capitol cannot be quenched, even by the will of the electorate.

Evidence of that statement became clear Friday in the House of Representatives where the Republican majority passed House Concurrent Resolution 2043 to empower the State Legislature with the authority to overturn voter-approved initiatives.

Apparently, state lawmakers believe the only obstacle to good government are the people who elected them to serve.

Robbing the electorate of the sole authority to petition government for legislation that is approved by a majority of registered voters is a dangerous step that surrenders power to politicians motivated by their own agendas.

This is a measure that seeks to consolidate the authority of the majority party to control any and all public policy, regardless of the will of the electorate. If this bill passes, state lawmakers will be able to overturn any legislation drafted by a citizen, despite the exhaustive process required to earn statewide approval of a referendum.

Unlike what happens inside the chambers of the State Legislature, qualifying for a statewide ballot requires thousands of properly-signed petitions and a majority vote of Arizona’s electorate. Under HCR 2043, lawmakers could modify and even overturn these initiatives if a larger majority of state politicians get on the same side of the issue.

It is an embarrassment that Arizona lawmakers are seriously considering legislation that would give politically-motivated politicians any authority over a majority vote of the electorate.

Arizona Senators need to stand up and soundly reject this bill.

Yes, they do. But given the propensity of the ruling political party (aka Greedy Old Patriarchs) to take power FROM the people, it is unlikely. Stay tuned.

Here's how our representatives voted.
Republican J. Christopher Ackerley Yes.
Democrat Rosanna Gabaldón No
It was not a strictly part-line vote, but not enough R's crossed over.

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