As you may have seen, Governor Doug Ducey wasted no time in signing into law HB 2404, the Arizona Chamber’s effort to make ballot measures costlier. This was a defeat for democracy, and there’s no pretending otherwise.
Yet, it’s important to remember the version of HB 2404 signed into law was nowhere near as harmful as the bill in its original form. That bill contained over a dozen separate provisions to impose costs on ballot measure committees, solely for the purpose of suppressing voters’ voices. Thankfully, and in large part due to your persistence in contacting your legislators, most of those damaging provisions were removed in the legislative process.
However, the Chamber has not given up on their dream of rendering it impossible for voters to make their voices heard, and it looks like they’re trying to trying to implement the rest of the provisions from the original HB 2404 one-by-one.
To start, the Chamber has arranged a “strike everything” amendment – by which the content of a bill is totally erased and replaced – to be made to HB 2244 during Tuesday’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. If adopted, the bill will suddenly be a vehicle to require courts to read the laws governing citizen initiatives as strictly as possible, and to change the rules so that even the most inconsequential and honest mistakes would lead to voters’ signatures being tossed out.
Unfortunately, this amendment is likely to be adopted and the bill will likely pass out of committee on Tuesday. Our best chance to defeat it is on the Senate floor. You can find out who your Senator is here, and find their contact info here. If you are set up on the legislature's Request to Speak tool, sign in as opposed to HB 2244 before Tuesday's hearing.
The Chamber must think they can do whatever they want to our rights - it's on us to show them they're wrong!