A Republican lawmaker is proposing yet another change to how citizens can enact laws in Arizona on top of others already working their way through the Legislature. Rep. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, wants to require backers to gather signatures from 10 percent of voters in each of the state’s 30 legislative districts before an initiative makes the ballot and 15 percent to qualify a Constitutional amendment. That’s a change from requiring a percentage of all eligible voters to sign. Shooter said Monday that the change is needed to protect minority rights and prevent liberal out-of-state interests from pushing voter initiatives in Arizona.
“If it’s coming from the people, they’re going to rise up and show us how the cow ate the cabbage,” Shooter said. “That’s the intent of the whole referendum process. It’s supposed to come from the people, not from George Soros’ pocketbook.” Soros is a billionaire businessman who backs liberal causes.
If Shooter’s effort is successful, those trying to qualify a measure for the ballot would be at the mercy of voters in the most conservative or liberal district in Arizona.
Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix, noted that the Legislature has tried previously to require signatures be gathered from specific areas but pulled back after a court challenge. If it is enacted and survives a challenge, he said Shooter’s bill would allow a small minority to effectively veto initiatives that have broad support. “You could easily see a situation where the minority could dictate the will of the majority,” Clark said.