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Arizona's Initiatives and Referendums (or, What Those People With Clipboards Are Doing)

A signature-gatherer working for Safer Arizona, the campaign to legalize the personal use of marijuana.
A signature-gatherer working for Safer Arizona, the campaign to legalize the personal use of marijuana.
Safer Arizona via Facebook

The clipboard-wielding people are getting a little hard to avoid -- whether at your home, or out in public, there always seems to be someone with a clipboard, who wants your signature for something.

Right now, there are nine applications with the Secretary of State's office to gather signatures for initiatives or referendums, to get their issues on the ballot in 2014.

Check out brief descriptions of the nine petitions below, as well as what they need to get on the ballot in 2014. Note that these things vary greatly in financial backing (the ability to actually gather the signatures) and general legitimacy.

  • No Toll Roads in Arizona
    Signatures Needed: 259,213
    Deadline: July 3, 2014
    Link to full text: Here
    Description: According to the sponsors, this is to "Prohibit the conversion of existing publicly funded or maintained roadways into fee based managed lanes or any form of toll roads."
    See also: Auto Enthusiasts Want to Block Potential Toll Roads in Arizona

  • Label GMOs
    Signatures Needed: 172,809
    Deadline: July 3, 2014
    Link to full text: Here
    Description: According to the sponsors, "This Article is to ensure any food offered for retail sale in Arizona is branded if it is, or may have been, entirely or partly produced with genetic engineering."

  • Equal Marriage
    Signatures Needed: 259,213
    Deadline: July 3, 2014
    Link to full text: Here
    Description: According to the sponsors, "This measure will define marriage in Arizona as being a union of two persons. It will ensure the protection of religious freedoms by specifying that religious organizations, religious associations, and religious societies in Arizona will not be required to solemnize or officiate any particular marriage or religious rite of marriage." This is a proposed constitutional amendment.
    See also: Gay-Marriage Proponents Trying to Get Issue on Ballot: "It's Go Time"

  • Marijuana Decriminalization
    Signatures Needed: 259,213
    Deadline: July 3, 2014
    Link to full text: Here
    Description: From the sponsors: "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Arizona; amending the Constitution of Arizona by adding Article XXXI Marijuana Regulation and Taxation, therewith, providing for the regulation of Marijuana; permitting a voting age person to consume or possess limited amounts of Marijuana; providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores; permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities; requiring the legislature to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of Marijuana; requiring half of the revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to Arizona Department of Health Services."
    See also: Marijuana Legalization Campaign Trying to Get Issue on Arizona Ballot

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  • Protect Employee Paychecks from Politics
    Signatures Needed: 259,213
    Deadline: July 3, 2014
    Link to full text: Here
    Description: This one "prohibits all employers in Arizona from taking money from an employee's paycheck and using it for political purposes without the express written permission of the employee," the supporters state.

  • Criminal Penalties Act
    Signatures Needed: 259,213
    Deadline: July 3, 2014
    Link to full text: Here
    Description: If this one or the next one sound remotely interesting to you, we'd recommend reading some (or all) of the actual text first. According to the sponsor, "This Amendment to the Constitution will mandate a criminal sentencing scheme that is commensurate with the magnitude of the crime and age of person. It will eliminate mandatory minimum sentences and return sentencing discretion to the trial judge. A criminal sentence will be based only on the actual conduct of the person, and not on a prior crime or conduct of another person. It will mandate certain procedural safeguards to prevent a double sentence or wrongful conviction."

  • "Elimination of redundant and ineffective laws . . ."
    Signatures Needed: 259,213
    Deadline: July 3, 2014
    Link to full text: Here
    Description: This one pretty much changes how laws work in general. Per the sponsors' explanation, "This Amendment to the Constitution will mandate the eliminiation of redundant and ineffective laws, rules, policies, regulations and ordinances for the state, its political subdivisions, and private entities that receive significant public funds. It will require a mandatory review and expiration procedure, and require all regulation to have a proven benefit without conformance to societal, moral or religious beliefs."

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  • Against Medicaid Expansion
    Signatures Needed: 86,405
    Deadline: September 11, 2013
    Link to full text: Here
    Description: This one challenges the laws passed by the Legislature that allow for Medicaid expansion. From the sponsors: "This petition is for the purpose of referring A.R.S. §§ 36-2901.07 and 36-2901.08 (attached) to the voters for approval or disapproval. Those sections expand eligibility for Arizona's Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), beginning January 1, 2014. To fund the expansion, all Arizona hospitals will be charged an assessment, unless exempted at the discretion of the Director. The Director, rather than the legislature, will set the amount of the assessment."
    See also: Petition to Repeal Medicaid Expansion Seems to Be a Tough Sell

  • Against Common Core
    Signatures Needed: 86,405
    Deadline: September 11, 2013
    Link to full text: Here
    Description: This isn't actually a referendum of Arizona's Common Core standards, but rather, a bond issue that funds it, courtesy of tea party supporters. From the supporters: "Arizona law places limits on the amount of bonded indebtedness that a school district or unified school district may incure (incur?) as a percentage of taxable property within a school district or unified school district. HB 2003 amends A.R.S. 15-1021 to double the class B bonding capacity limits of school districts from five percent to ten percent and of unified school districts from ten percent to twenty percent. HB 2003 will increase property taxes in school districts and unified school districts that incur additional debt as a result of this measure. This petition is to put this decision on the ballot."

  • Against HB 2305 (Election Laws)
    Signatures Needed: 86,405
    Deadline: September 12, 2013
    Link to full text: Here
    Description: This would let voters decide on the several new changes to election laws passed by Republicans at the Legislature this year. From the supporters: "This petition seeks to refer 2013 Laws, Chapter 209 (House Bill 2305), the principal provisions of which are: (1) setting candidate nomination-petition signature requirements based on total registered voters among the candidate's potential constituents, rather than registered voters in the candidate's party; (2) removing from the Permanent Early Voting List voters who don't respond to certain official notices; (3) making political committee members returning early ballots a class 1 misdemeanor; (4) establishing referral procedures for campaign finance allegations against government attorneys; and (5) adding requirements for initiative, referendum and recall petitions, and mandating strict compliance with all requirements."
    See also: Arizona's Voter Suppression Law: Referendum to Overturn HB 2305


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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.


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