Republican bill makes citizen initiative process more difficult

SB 1451would impose new requirements on paid circulators and the organizations that hire them to collect signatures.

 

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Republican lawmakers and their business allies are moving once again to put new hurdles in the path of citizen groups that want to propose their own laws.

SB 1451, approved Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, would impose new requirements on paid circulators and the organizations that hire them to collect signatures. These range from a mandate to provide a phone number and email address to insisting that when petitions are turned in they are grouped by circulator.

Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Glendale, said the new requirements appear to be a way to provide those who oppose what voters are proposing additional opportunities to keep them off the ballot.

“What this does is it gives more ammo for those who wish to challenge and deal with these issues in court rather than at the election box,” Quezada said. More to the point, he said it could result in the disqualification of otherwise legitimate signatures asking to put an issue to voters solely because the person who circulated the petition failed to provide an email address.

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