Friday, August 08, 2008

A mixed bag for AZ's GOPers...

One business-backed initiatve thrown off the ballot, while another business-backed initiative is certified and will be placed on the ballot.

From a press release from the AZ Secretary of State's office -
Secretary of State Jan Brewer today officially certified Proposition 202, the Stop Illegal Hiring initiative as having met the minimum number of qualified signatures to be placed on the ballot. The Secretary also formally notified the “Medical Choice for Arizona ” Initiative (Prop. 101) that the measure lacks the minimum number of signatures to qualify for the November General Election ballot.

The "Stop Illegal Hiring" initiative is a business-backed measure to alter the state's existing anti-immigrant employer sanctions law. (AZRep) It is roundly opposed by Russell Pearce (R-National Alliance) and the "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out wing" of the Republican Party. (Maricopa County Republican Party)

The "Medical Choice for Arizona" initiative proposed an amendment to AZ's constitution that would have barred any law that "restricts a person's freedom of choice of private health care systems or private plans of any type." In short, it's a local version of John Shadegg's H.R. 4460, a scheme to allow insurers based in one state to sell policies in other states without regard to other states' laws.

The Medical Choice initiative was a favorite of the "Chamber of Commerce" wing of the GOP - it was supported by GOP moneymen like Jim Click ($25K) and and by 'free market' organizations like Woodland Group LLC ($10K), an Indiana-based astroturf group. (HuffingtonPost). Woodland Group is a major player among Indiana-based 527 groups, easily out-contributing the next five Indiana-based groups combined in 2004). (Center for Public Integrity) It's a big player nationally too, contributing over $1.8 million during the 2002 elections. (Congressional Research Service report, courtesy

As of the end of May, the committee behind the initiative had raised and spent approximately $400K, with tens of thousands more since.

All in all, a split decision for the "Chamber of Commerce" wing, one they can probably live with - there's dozens of ways to get around state insurance regulations, but Arizona's employer sanctions laws totally screws with their efforts find and control a cheap labor force.

As for Pearce and his wingnuts? Sit back and enjoy the screaming, hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing - they don't care about helping insurance companies as much as they care about hurting people with brown skin.


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