Republicans set more traps for citizen ballot measures

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Rejecting complaints from Democrats, Republican lawmakers have voted to add a series of new requirements that need to be met by people proposing their own laws and constitutional amendments.

Some of the changes approved on a party-line vote are procedural, such as saying that paid and out-of-state petition circulators cannot gather signatures until they register with the Secretary of State’s Office. And registration is prohibited for anyone who has been convicted of fraud, forgery, identity theft, or of any felony and his or her civil rights have not been restored.

But Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Glendale, charged that the real goal of SB1451 is to set up a system that allows otherwise valid petitions to be disqualified for technical reasons.

He said that’s being done intentionally by those opposed to the kind of ideas pushed by voters after they could not get the Legislature to consider their pleas. More to the point, Quezada said it allows foes of these ballot measures to quash the proposals before voters get their chance to weigh in.

“This allows them to go to court and sue to knock off groups of signatures,” he said.

They can do that, Quezada said, because SB1451 sets up traps.

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