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Battle Over Citizen Initiatives Continues At State Capitol

The battle over citizen initiatives is continuing at the state Capitol today. Ever since voters approved a minimum-wage increase in November, Republican lawmakers have been pushing changes to the initiative process.

Last week, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill that will make citizen initiatives more difficult by banning the practice of paying petition circulators by the signature.

And now, two more late-coming proposals are making their way through the Legislature aimed at the initiative process.

A Senate committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would subject initiative organizers to $1,000-an-incident fines for violations of law committed by anyone they hire to collect signatures.

And another proposal would impose strict compliance, or a strict legal standard, on citizen measures, which would allow them to be thrown out for mere paperwork or language errors — even if the proposed law complies with other requirements.

Rep. Vince Leach, who brought forth one of the bills, argues legislators are not trying to kill the process altogether.

But Joel Edman, executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network, says these bills would make it a lot harder for citizens to get measures on the ballot.

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.