Posted by Craig McDermott
Lost in the excitement over the races for various offices on this fall's ballot have been the large number of important questions being placed before the voters in November.
The Arizona Legislature's Legislative Council (basically a group of lawyers who take legislative bill proposals and write them into "legalese) will be holding a public meeting on Wednesday at 10 a.m. in House Hearing Room 4 (HHR4) to consider, possibly amend, and adopt some draft analyses of the various questions scheduled to go before the voters, including two active initiatives that haven't turned in their petitions yet.
The short version of my take on the questions:
Other than the Medical Marijuana question, they're all crap. Pretty much everything proposed by the legislature is aimed at destroying any parts of Arizona's social safety net that have previously been approved by the voters. The other two, which may not make it on the ballot, are part of the same extremist, anti-government/anti-society, ideology.
However, this post isn't about my visceral reaction, it's about the Lege Council's analyses of the questions. Analyses that appear to be, and are supposed to be, impartial.
The Secretary of State's list of current ballot questions is here.
Note: all analyses linked to are drafts and are subject to change.
In the order of the SOS' list, not the Lege Council's list of analyses, because that is the order that the questions will appear on the ballot -
Question 106 (full text here) - an anti-health care reform amendment to the Arizona Constitution. Lege Council analysis here. Proposed in 2009, even before HCR passed. Referred to the ballot by the House and Senate on party-line votes.
Question 107 (full text here) - an anti-affirmative action amendment to the AZ Constitution. Lege Council analysis here. Referred by the House and Senate on party-line votes.
Question 108 (full text here) - an anti-"card check"/anti-labor amendment to the Arizona Constitution. Lege Council analysis here. Referred by the Senate and House on party-line votes.
These three questions are more about the Republican legislative majority's staunch pro-business/anti-minority and working class ideology than about good government.
Question 109 (full text here) - the first "pro" question of this year's ballot, this one would make the "right" to hunt, fish, or otherwise "harvest wildlife" a right protected under the AZ Constitution. Lege Council analysis here. Ensuring that Arizona continues as the punchline to political jokes nationwide. Referred by the House and Senate with all Rs and a few rural Ds supporting.
Question 110 (full text here) - an amendment to the Arizona Constitution relating to the sale of state trust lands. Lege Council analysis here. This measure includes a provision allowing for the sale or lease of state trust lands without "advertising or auction." In a ballot chock full o' stinkiness, this one may quietly be the most rancid proposal of all. It will be worthy of a full post of its own as the summer drags on and the November election looms ever closer. Referred by the House and Senate unanimously. Something tells me that a lot of the D members of the lege were snookered by the "protect military installations from development" language in the measure.
Question 111 (full text here) - an amendment to the Arizona Constitution that would change the job title of the Arizona Secretary of State to "Lieutenant Governor." Lege Council analysis here. Nothing about the measure changes the functions of the job, so the current job title is more descriptive of the job function than the proposed title. Referred by the Senate unanimously and by the House with a few Rs opposing.
Question 112 (full text here) - an amendment to the AZ Constitution to change the deadline for submitting initiative petitions to allow more time to verify the petitions. Lege Council analysis here. Possibly the least bad measure up for consideration, but since the source is the legislature... Referred by the House and Senate with a few Rs (and one D) opposing.
Question 203 (full text here) - the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. Lege Council analysis here. This is a good measure, so not surprisingly, this one is a citizen-based initiative, not a legislative-based one.
Question 301 (full text here) - zeroing out the Land Conservation Fund. Lege Council analysis here. Why conserve land when there are corporate tax cuts to pay for? Referred by the House and Senate on party-line votes.
Question 302 (full text here) - repealing the Early Childhood Development and Health Fund and sweeping the money in the Fund. Lege Council analysis here. Why work to ensure that Arizona's child get a healthy start to life when there are corporate tax cuts to pay for? Referred by the House and Senate with all Ds and a couple of Rs opposing.
Not on the ballot as yet, and may not qualify for the ballot, but ones that the Lege Council has draft analyses for are -
- the End Photo Radar Initiative, full text here, Lege Council analysis here. What it sounds like.
- Prop 13 Arizona, full text here, Lege Council analysis here. Would institute strict limits on property taxes, hikes to property taxes, and increases to valuations of property.