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Arizona Lawmakers Propose More Changes To Ballot Initiative Process

Arizona lawmakers are proposing several changes to the citizen’s initiative process this year.

This is not the first time that’s happened, and critics of the measures say these changes make it more difficult and expensive to get ballot measures in front of voters.

Among the proposals this year: Requiring the signature gatherer to read the initiative or its description to a potential signer before putting pen to paper; requiring initiatives to stick to a single subject; new taxes would need to be approved by a 2-3 majority, rather than a simple majority; and a requirement to let voters know about the Voter Protection Act, which says ballot measures can only be changed by the Legislature with a three-fourths majority and only when furthering the purpose of the initiative.

The Show heard from two perspectives on these changes, starting with Sandy Bahr.

Bahr is director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club. She says initiatives are a check on the power of the Legislature, giving advocates the ability to go directly to the voters. She’s critical of the proposals moving through the Legislature. The Show spoke with her for more on how she’s seen the initiative process used during her time at the state Capitol.

Among those who generally support the proposed changes is the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Garrick Taylor is the group’s interim president and CEO.

The Show also spoke with him and asked why the initiative process needs changing.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.