Sep 6, 2022 - Politics

Arizona voters will get to weigh in on 10 propositions

Illustration of a ballot box and question mark sticker.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Come November, voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on a number of issues facing Arizona, including medical debt, tuition for undocumented immigrants, a new lieutenant governor position and property tax exemptions.

The big picture: There are 10 propositions on the statewide ballot, two of which were referred through the citizen initiative process.

  • Proposition 211, dubbed the Voters' Right to Know Act, cracks down on the use of dark money, a term used for campaign spending by outside groups that don't disclose where they get their funds.
  • The measure would require any group that spends $50,000 in a statewide campaign or $25,000 in other campaigns to disclose the original source of any contribution of more than $5,000.
  • Another citizen initiative, Proposition 209, decreases the maximum interest rate on medical debt from 10% to 3%, and reduces the amount of property and income that can be seized to pay for medical debt.

Most of the propositions were referred to the ballot by the legislature.

Yes, but: Amendments to the Arizona Constitution can only be approved by voters.

  • And the 1998 Voter Protection Act makes it impossible for the legislature to repeal other voter-approved laws and makes it extremely difficult to amend them.

Of the eight ballot measures referred by the legislature, three would make substantial changes to the way voter-approved laws are enacted and enforced.

  • Proposition 128 would allow lawmakers to repeal or amend voter-approved laws if a court ruled that they contained illegal or unconstitutional language.
  • Proposition 129 would limit citizen initiatives that change state statute to a single subject, a standard that is already in place for initiatives that amend the Arizona Constitution.
  • Proposition 132 would require ballot propositions that raise taxes to receive at least 60% of the vote to pass, instead of a simple majority.

Between the lines: The citizen initiative process is primarily used by liberals and progressives to enact laws that lack support in the Republican-controlled legislature, and GOP lawmakers have spent years implementing restrictions that make it more difficult to get them on the ballot.

Lawmakers referred another proposal that affects voting: Proposition 309.

  • It would impose voter identification measures on early ballots by requiring people to include either a state-issued identification number or the last four digits of their Social Security numbers in addition to the signatures and birthdates.

Of note: Some legislatively referred propositions cross partisan lines.

  • Proposition 308 would make any student, regardless of immigration status, eligible for in-state university tuition and financial aid if they graduated from, or spent at least two years attending, high school in Arizona.
  • It had unanimous Democratic support in the legislature, along with a small number of Republican votes.
  • If approved, it would partially reverse a 2006 voter-approved law that barred undocumented immigrants from receiving public benefits.

Another legislative referral that got some bipartisan support is Proposition 131, which would create a lieutenant governor position who would run on a ticket with gubernatorial nominees. They would be first in the line of succession if the governor leaves office early.

  • Five of the nine governors who preceded Gov. Doug Ducey left office early.
  • Voters rejected attempts to create lieutenant governors in 1994 and 2010.

Two other legislative referrals pertain to taxes.

  • Proposition 310 would create a Fire District Safety Fund, which would be funded through a 0.1% sales tax increase on certain types of businesses.
  • Proposition 130 would repeal and consolidate property tax exemption laws, and would allow the legislature to enact exemptions for veterans with disabilities, widows and widowers.

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