Prop 128: Here’s what you need to know before you head to the ballot box

Sep 20, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: Oct 10, 2022, 11:40 am

PHOENIX — When Arizona voters fill out their ballots for the Nov. 8 general election, they’ll see 10 statewide ballot initiatives.

One of those measures is Proposition 128, which would allow the Legislature to make changes to or divert funds from laws passed by voters through ballot initiatives if the Arizona or U.S. Supreme Court finds that they contain illegal or unconstitutional language.

Proponents think the current methods for handling such situations aren’t sufficient, while opponents think the proposal gives too much power to lawmakers to override the will of the voters.

Among Prop 128’s proponents is Scot Musi, president of the group Free Enterprise Club. He said unconstitutional language is sometimes put into ballot initiatives on purpose.

“In recent years, we’ve seen more and more, and a lot of times it’s these out-of-state groups that are coming in and trying to put measures on the ballot, and they knowingly contain illegal and unconstitutional language,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Right now, he said, there’s no good way to properly fix these initiatives if they pass and said the current process is not ideal.

“We’re talking about an unelected judge making determinations on their own on … what portions survive, what portions don’t … you have a situation where a judge may or may not be rewriting the law,” he added.

“They may choose not do that and then we’re stuck with something that’s broken, or they might change portions of an initiative and then it’s not really doing what the voters wanted it to do.”

Opponents of Prop 128 question the motives behind giving lawmakers the power to change legislation that voters themselves passed.

Multiple organizations submitted written opposition to the bill, including One Arizona, the Arizona Education Association and the League of Women Voters of Arizona.

“Our legislators have a moral and constitutional responsibility to follow the will of the people as enacted through the ballot initiative process,” Montserrat Arredonado, executive director of One Arizona, said in a statement.

Arredondo said the bill is a way for some politicians and corporations to rewrite the rules to get their way and said this amendment would give politicians “the authority to undo or entirely rewrite a ballot initiative that was already approved by voters, if the Arizona Supreme Court interprets any small part of the initiative as unconstitutional.”

You can read more about this and the other ballot propositions on the Arizona secretary of state’s website.

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Prop 128: Here’s what you need to know before you head to the ballot box