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AZ Public Figures File Amicus Briefs On Both Sides Of Invest In Ed Ballot Initiative's Legal Fight

High-profile supporters and opponents of the Invest in Ed ballot initiative have joined the legal fight as the case heads to the Arizona Supreme Court. The continuing battle over the measure that would raise taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents to provide more funding for education. 

The Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank, filed on Monday an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to affirm a judge’s decision to remove the initiative from the ballot. The measure’s 100-word summary fails to explain that initiatives are hard to repeal or amend after voters approve them," the institute said in its brief. 

"This fundamentally undemocratic feature of initiatives — which might be called '[o]ne-person, one-vote, one-time,' — is strong reason for courts to painstakingly enforce the requirement that an initiative’s 100-word summary accurately covers all principal provisions before that matter may be put before the voters," it said. 

On the other side of the fight, state Superintendent Kathy Hoffman, former Phoenix Mayor and Attorney General Terry Goddard and former Arizona Corporation Commissioner and current co-director of the Energy Policy Innovation Council and Director of the Utility of the Future Center Kris Mayes filed a brief in support of the measure. 

The previous ruling imposes an unprecedented and impossible standard of initiatives’ 100-word summaries. 

"The trial court’s interpretation of the 100-word summary requirement tramples on the people’s fundamental constitutional right to legislate through initiatives," the group said. "This Court should reverse the trial court’s decision and remove this obstacle to Invest in Education appearing on the ballot."

In 2018, the state Supreme Court knocked a previous Invest in Ed ballot initiative because it said the measure did not clearly state its impact on taxpayers.

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Rocio Hernandez was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2022.