Proposition 129 in Arizona would limit a ballot measure to one subject
PHOENIX — A proposition this November in Arizona might have an impact on how measures could look on your ballot moving forward.
Prop 129 would limit a ballot measure to one subject and require that subject to be expressed in the initiative’s title.
Supporters say it would help to not mislead voters and would reveal an initiative’s true interest, while opponents argue it would limit citizens’ ability to propose legislation.
Danny Seiden, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, argues that passage of the proposition will make initiatives easier to read.
“You can put a clever name on top of one and that’s very deceptive,” Seiden said. “But if you just have one subject that you’re focused on, anyone can pick that bill up and read it for themselves.”
Seiden also said that voters should have a “buyer beware” attitude with how initiatives currently look on the ballot.
Initiatives, for now in their language, can have hidden topics or amendments that are not related to the title issue.
“As they’re built, [initiatives] rarely deliver,” Seiden said.
Fourteen states have a system that requires initiatives be limited to a single subject, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Pinny Sheoran, president of the Arizona League of Women Voters, wants to make sure Arizona isn’t the 15th state.
Sheoran said citizen initiatives face uphill battles legislators don’t and passage of Prop 129 would only make it more difficult.
“Citizens have a much heavier burden of work to be done in order to bring a proposition in front of the voters,” Sheoran said.
“A single subject will restrict tremendously your right to fight for rights that are complex.”
Courts in the past have ruled that Arizona’s constitution only limits the Legislature to a single subject for ballot initiatives.
“The argument often being brought forward is ‘well the legislature has a single subject, why shouldn’t the citizens?'” Sheoran said.
“And we disagree because we are independent of the Legislature, we are the check and balance.”
Early voting started Wednesday in Arizona.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Luke Forstner contributed to this report.