Judge: New Arizona law regulating citizen initiatives can take effect, for now

Alexa Chryssovergis and Alia Beard Rau, The Republic | azcentral.com

A new state law making it tougher for residents to put issues on the ballot will take effect Wednesday, a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge has ruled. 

But "it's certainly a possibility" the ruling will be appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court, said attorney Roopali Desai, who represents those challenging the law. And Judge Sherry Stephens left the door open for groups to file lawsuits at a later time.

Lawsuit filed to strike initiative restriction law

Claiming lawmakers acted illegally, a newly organized group is asking a judge to void a key change in laws governing the right of voters to enact their own laws.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court charges that both the Arizona Constitution and a series of court rulings require that initiative organizers need be only in “substantial compliance” with state election laws to qualify their proposals for the ballot. That provides a certain amount of leeway for what judges have concluded are errors which do not affect the ability of voters to understand what they are signing and the issues before them.

Former Arizona Politicians Work To Overturn Voter Initiative Law

By  KJZZ News


Two former politicians are moving to overturn the decision by the Republican-controlled legislature that will make it more difficult for voters to propose their own laws.

Grant Woods, who was a Republican attorney general, and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson filed the paperwork yesterday to create “Voters of Arizona.”

That allows them to start circulating petitions, perhaps as early as next week, to refer the new laws to the ballot.

 

Effort to halt citizen initiative changes takes shape

By Clarice Silber 

Associated Press

PHOENIX — Former Attorney General Grant Woods and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson are leading a referendum campaign to overturn up to three proposals to tighten the laws overseeing the citizen initiative process.

Voters of Arizona was registered at the secretary of state’s office Thursday morning as the committee tackling the referendum attempt on the 2018 ballot, political consultant Joe Yuhas said.

“I think Grant and Paul come from different perspectives politically but yet they share a common feature and that is that as Arizona natives ... they have participated in and been the beneficiaries of Arizona’s direct democracy that has existed since statehood,” Yuhas said.

Initiative Begun to Save Citizens' Initiatives from Arizona GOP's New Laws

By Ray Stern
Phoenix New Times

Arizona voters may get the chance to shoot down changes made by the Arizona Legislature that make it tougher to put citizens' initiatives on the ballot.

Voters of Arizona, co-chaired by former state Attorney General Grant Woods and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson, filed paperwork as a political committee on Thursday to signal the coming launch of a ballot measure to save ballot measures.

"It's about respecting the average person's right to be involved in important policy decisions," Woods said on Friday. "It's really been part and parcel to Arizona from day one — that the power ultimately went to the people, not to the government."

Woods, Johnson file paperwork to create ‘Voters of Arizona’

By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX — Two former politicians are moving to overturn the decision by the Republican-controlled legislature to make it more difficult for voters to propose their own laws.

Grant Woods, who was a Republican attorney general, and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson filed the paperwork Thursday to create Voters of Arizona. That allows them to start circulating petitions, perhaps as early as this coming week, to refer the new laws to the ballot.

Backers need just 75,321 valid signatures by early August to block the measures from taking effect until at least the November 2018 general election. It would then be up to voters to decide whether to ratify or veto what lawmakers approved.