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State Court of Appeals rules in favor of 2022 law designed to protect Arizonans from creditors

The state Court of Appeals has rebuffed efforts by lenders, debt collectors and attorneys to void a voter-approved law designed to protect Arizonans from creditors.

Challengers to Proposition 209 said part of the law was vague and unintelligible. They claimed that made the entire measure unenforceable.

Voters approved Prop. 209 by a 3-1 margin in 2022. It set a 3% limit on interest rates for health-care debt, increased home value protected from bankruptcy up to $400,000, and limited how much wages could be garnished.

The judges unanimously upheld the law in a decision last week, writing that just because a law can be interpreted in multiple ways does not mean it is unconstitutionally vague. 

Judge Maria Elena Cruz, writing for the panel, acknowledged that laws can be declared void for vagueness when it does not provide someone with "ordinary intelligence'' a reasonable opportunity to avoid violating the statute as well as guidance on what standards would be used to determine that.

"However, a statute is not vague merely because it is susceptible to more than one interpretation,'' she wrote. "Nor is a statute unconstitutionally vague because one of its terms is not explicitly defined.''

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Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.