Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey wasted no time Thursday signing legislation that opponents say would make it tougher to get citizen initiatives on the ballot, but supporters say will reduce fraud in signature gathering. Ducey signed the measure into law less than three hours after it received final House approval. House Bill 2404 bans groups seeking to put an initiative on the ballot from paying petition circulators by the signature and makes it easier to challenge citizen initiatives in court. The governor’s action gives Republicans and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry a victory in one of their top priorities of the year. House Bill 2404 was approved by the Senate Wednesday, with no votes from Democrats, and the House followed Thursday, also without Democratic support.
The action came on the same day that three other initiative measures died for the session. Two would have asked voters in the 2018 general election to change or repeal the Voter Protection Act, which bars the Legislature from changing voter-approved laws. The third would require initiative backers to collect signatures in all 30 legislative districts.
Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, backer of the two Voter Protection Act measures, said Senate President Steve Yarbrough didn’t tell her why he quashed her bills.
“I was prepared and ready to go,” she said. “It’s a bill that I’m passionate about and I’ll probably address it in some fashion next session.”