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Arizona Campaign Transparency And Clean Energy Initiatives In Jeopardy

The decision to void hundreds of thousands of petition signatures needed to put questions on the upcoming ballot now rests on a Maricopa County Superior Court judge's shoulders.

Judge Teresa Sanders could invoke a 2014 law that placed tougher restrictions on voter initiatives trying to make the ballot.

In both cases, petitioners who collected signatures were subpoenaed to testify in court this week.

Attorney Kim Demarchi with the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative said those restrictions were motivated by business owners angered over voters' increasing Arizona's minimum wage and now those businesses want to curtail future public initiatives.

She has argued that the restrictions are unfairly stacked against voters who want to bypass special interests.

"It's significantly easier to run to be a member of the Legislature [and] kick off someone who's trying to challenge you for that office," Demarchi complained.

And, likewise, she said it's far easier, "to file a lawsuit to kick off an initiative than it is to keep an initiative on the ballot."

Judge Sanders also heard arguments from attorney Kory Langhofer representing the group in support of subpoenaing more than a dozen petitions who collected signatures for the campaign transparency initiative.

He is demanding Judge Sanders automatically disqualify 225,963 validated signatures, which he says were collected by suspected felons who did not showing up to testify in court Monday.

"If you're going to put something on the ballot, you've got to keep your circulators around to answer questions about whether they're felons, about whether they fill out the registration paperwork properly," Langhofer said.

Demarchi asked Sanders to consider demands that the court automatically disqualify petitions an unconstitutional infringement on the judge's right to interpret the law.

"What the Legislature has said," Demarchi explained, "is the court is no longer able to make a determination whether there's competent evidence regarding the issue in question. We're just going to strike all subpoenas."

Sander's decision in this trial, could set precedence for a similar challenge in court this week by Arizona Public Service against a renewable energy initiative.

Holliday Moore is a native Arizonan and veteran journalist who joined KJZZ’s news team in January 2017.Moore graduated from Arizona State University after double majoring in mass communications and marketing/management. She spent her first two decades reporting for television news, beginning in small markets and working up to congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C., for a political news service.Family commitments in Arizona brought her back to the Southwest, where she covered legislative and court beats for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV and the infamous Four Corner Manhunt as KREZ-TV’s managing editor.Back home in Phoenix, she developed ABC15’s “Democracy Project,” now instituted at all Scripps’ news stations nationwide. Her work garnered “Best Practices” recognition by the Poynter Institute and the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.Her television reports, from sports to cultural issues, earned her multiple Emmy and Associated Press nominations, including a Rocky Mountain Emmy for her Hopi Partition Land Act coverage.As she started a family, Moore started her own media production agency, producing magazine-style travel stories for the Emmy-winning Arizona Highways Television show while working part time for a Valley radio station. She is convinced radio is where visual, sound, and print are merging through deeper storytelling. In her relatively short time with radio network affiliates, she has won four Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple nominations from other professional news societies.Moore now teaches advanced broadcast writing to the next generation of reporters at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where a high percentage have gone on to receive national awards for their work in her class. She enjoys being back home near childhood friends and sharing the beautiful Arizona desert with her husband and young son.