Four years ago, Arizona lawmakers passed an ambitious plan to curb citizen initiatives and make other substantial changes to elections. They said new rules were needed to reduce voter fraud and streamline elections. That didn’t sell with a coalition of citizen groups. They called the bill voter suppression, and set out to block it. They scrambled, circulated petitions and got the bill referred to the 2014 ballot, where the state’s voters could decide whether to keep it on the books or toss it. Coalition members were confident voters would kill it. So were lawmakers. When they returned to the Capitol for work in early 2014, they repealed the measure and thus removed the issue from the ballot.
Despite what looked like a defeat a few years ago, many of the proposals in the repealed measure are now state law. Others may soon be: Two of three bills tightening the rules on citizen initiatives were recently signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey; a third is likely to win approval before the Legislature closes its 2017 session.
… Sandy Bahr has been on the citizen end of the initiative battles, helping run campaigns and lobbying against the restrictions lawmakers have added to the process.
“It’s arrogant, it’s disrespectful,” said Bahr, the Sierra Club’s local representative. “They’re trying to make it more difficult to challenge.”
Full Article: Arizona restrictions on citizen initiatives came after years-long effort.