Voters may now have an easier time deciding on ballot initiatives thanks to Proposition 129.
The measure, which earned 55 percent of the vote over this past week, amends the Arizona Constitution to limit ballot initiatives to a single subject. It would also require the subject to be included in the title of the measure.
Although this measure may ease voters’ burden, it may require additional work for those launching ballot initiatives since multiple subjects can’t be lumped together.
Those who petitioned against Prop 129 included the League of Women Voters of Arizona, One Arizona, the Arizona Education Association (AEA), Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), Chispa Arizona, Our Voice Our Vote Arizona, and Mi Familia Vota. With the exception of the AEA, the organizations’ main purpose is advancing left-leaning political interests.
This opposition argued that the measure imposed a greater burden on voter-led initiatives. They noted that litigation would be too expensive and time-consuming for grassroots efforts, and that signature-gathering efforts would become harder.
The Arizona Republic also published an editorial opposing Prop 129, as well as Props 128 and 132.
Those who petitioned for Prop 129 included the Arizona chapter of the NAIOP, Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Center for Arizona Policy Action. These organizations are a mix of businesses and policy advocates.
These proponents argued that voters shouldn’t be hoodwinked or confused by an expansive measure, or compelled to vote for something they only support in part. They insisted that simple, single-subject language would best represent the will of the voters.
According to campaign finance data, those supportive of Prop 129 spent over $554,000 while those opposed spent over $38,000. The vast majority of the funding for the measure came from the Make It Simple Arizona: Yes on 129 political action committee (PAC). That PAC received its funding from the Arizona Pork Council, National Pork Producers Council, Arizona Chamber’s Moving Arizona Forward PAC, and the Arizona Farm Bureau.
Most of the opposition funds came from Progress Arizona, with the remainder coming from LUCHA and a Washington, D.C.-based PAC, All On The Line, which only became active late last month. Their treasurer, Hayley Dierker, is the chief of staff at the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC).
The NDRC is a PAC created by members of the Democratic Party and the Obama administration in late 2016. Former President Barack Obama himself is part of the NDRC.
Will Of The People is urging voters to vote “no” on Propositions 128, 129, and 132 which are on the 2022 General Election ballot. But who is behind those efforts came under scrutiny this week upon the filing of the group’s latest campaign finance report.
The website for Will Of The People notes 20 percent of contributions are “coming from out of state,” although a recent political mailer reflects an out-of-state contribution rate of 43 percent. However, that rate could be as high as 99.9 percent based on the $324,959.44 the group received July 17 through Sept. 30.
It is the corporate contributions listed on group’s 2022 post-primary election (Q3) Schedule C4b which has garnered review, including 11 payments from Washington, D.C.-based The Fairness Project totaling more than $254,633. The other cash contributions came from Berkeley-based Every Single Vote ($70,000) and another D.C.-based donor, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center ($326.11).
Another $33 total in cash came from four individual contributors in Arizona, according to the PAC’s treasurer, Dacey Montoya.
The Fairness Project is funded in turn by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is “dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society” and has won praise from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
While Will Of The People is focused on Props 128, 129, and 132, SEIU is behind Healthcare Rising AZ, which supports efforts to amend Arizona statutes by adding restrictions to how medical debt can be collected. Healthcare Rising AZ recently received $15,000 in contributions from the Maricopa County Democratic Party and Arizona Democratic Party.
Prop 128 would amend the Arizona Constitution to allow the state legislature to amend, divert funds from, or supersede an initiative or referendum measure enacted by the people of Arizona if the measure is found to contain illegal or unconstitutional language by the Arizona or United States Supreme Court.
Currently, state law prohibits legislators from correcting the illegal or unconstitutional language. A “yes” vote would amend the Constitution to allow such corrections, while the “no” vote advocated by Will Of The People would leave the restrictive prohibition in place.
Prop 129 would amend the Arizona Constitution to limit an initiative measure to a single subject and require that subject to be expressed in the title of the initiative measure. A “yes” vote supports the proposed amendment while a “no” vote shall have the effect of retaining existing law on initiative measures.
Prop 132 would amend the Arizona Constitution relating to initiative and referendum measures by requiring any initiative or referendum that seeks to approve a tax to receive at least 60 percent of the votes cast to become law. A “yes” vote is for amending the Constitution while a “no” voter leaves the existing law of 50 percent plus 1 in effect.
Among the potential eleven ballot measures voters will see on their ballot this November, two make critically important reforms to the ballot measure process itself: Proposition 128 and Proposition 129.
Arizona is a target for out-of-state special interest groups that spend millions of dollars to put their radical ideas on the ballot. They take an issue that is unpopular with the electorate, like tax hikes, spend a few million dollars to park circulators in Phoenix and Tucson for a couple months, and throw bad policy on our ballots.
Take, for example, Prop 208, which narrowly passed in 2020…