Bill gives citizens right to sue schools, cities over elections

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Saying state and county prosecutors may balk, a House panel voted Tuesday to let anyone file suit to claim that public dollars are being used to influence elections.

The 5-4 vote by the House Elections Committee on HB 2026 came after claims by Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, that individual taxpayers need the right to step in to enforce the law.

He acknowledged that current law permits either the attorney general or county attorney to sue local governments or school districts that use public resources to urge people to vote for or against individuals or ballot measures. But Kavanagh said those officials, being political animals, worry about getting re-election.

“They don’t stand up to their responsibilities and they take the cowardly way out by, for whatever reason, saying, ‘I don’t think this deserves being looked into’ (or) ‘lacks merit,’ ” he said.

Rep. John Fillmore, R-Apache Junction, agreed, saying that taxpayers should not have to rely on a county attorney or attorney general to enforce the laws.

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