Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Judge rules; anti-union question off of November's ballot

From a Howie Fischer story in the East Valley Tribune:
Arizonans won't be able to vote in November to make it harder for unions to organize, at least not unless legislators fix it -- and quickly.

Without comment, the Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that Proposition 108 is illegally crafted. That order signed by Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, which is not appealable, bars the Secretary of State's Office from putting it on the ballot.
The measure, which would have been Proposition 108 on the ballot, began its existence as SCR1026 during the 2009 session of the legislature.  Jonathan "Payday Loan" Paton was the originating sponsor of the measure while 37 of the remaining 52 members of the R caucus signed on as sponsors or cosponsors of it.

It was referred to the ballot on party-line votes (Senate here; House here)

A lower court ruled that the measure violated the "only one subject" rule concerning amendments to the state constitution.  As this fact sheet prepared by the lege itself clearly shows, this measure violated that rule.

A summary of the AZ Supreme Court record related to the case can be found here.

The court decision is probably a huge disappointment to its industry and legislative supporters - they've dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign to pass the measure, including $135K just last week (7/26).

As discussed in Fischer's article, there is still a chance for the lege to fix their union-busting measure so that it is properly crafted for the ballot, but that would take a special session of the legislature, and it would have to be completed by Tuesday, the "drop-dead" date for ballot language to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office.

I contacted a state rep about the possibility of that happening and was informed that they (the Democrats) hadn't heard anything about a special session this week.  A call to the Governor's elicited little info and a referral to Paul Senseman, the Governor's spokesman.  An email has been sent to him (he is out of the office) and I'll update if any new info becomes available.

Edit to include Senseman's response:

From his reply to my email inquiry about whether or not there is a plan to call a special session -
"Governor Brewer is very interested in allowing the voters of Arizona the opportunity to protect the sanctity of the secret ballot. She will be anxious to hear from the House Speaker and the Senate President regarding their Member’s [sic] availability and interest to act."

End edit...
However, as of this writing, a special session on this issue seems unlikely.

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