Friday, May 27, 2011

Legislative Republicans Still Scheming To Topple Voter Protection Act

The 2011 session of the legislature just ended but the Republicans in the lege are already planning for 2011.

One of the few things, perhaps the only thing, preventing the legislature from laying complete waste to Arizona's already weak societal infrastructure has been the Voter Protection Act.  The VPA, also known as "Proposition 105" was an amendment to the Arizona Constitution approved by the voters that effectively bars the legislature from interfering with any voter-approved initiatives (there are exceptions, but it takes a 3/4 vote and must further the intent of the initiative).

That safeguard has prevented the legislature from utterly destroying public education, early childhood health care, and AHCCCS, Arizona's Medicaid program (though they are trying that last anyway).

The Republicans in the lege have made periodic attempts to circumvent or overturn the measure, but those attempts have been rebuffed each time.

However, those Republicans are nothing if not persistent.  They are talking about going after the VPA again next session.

From the Arizona Capitol Times, by Jeremy Duda -
The chorus of lawmakers calling for an overhaul of the Voter Protection Act quieted to a low murmur in 2011, but supporters say the dormant issue will be back on the Legislature’s agenda next year.

Several Republican legislators said they will revive their plans to change Proposition 105, the 1998 ballot measure that strictly limits the Legislature’s ability to tamper with voter-approved measures. Legislative wins on a pair of big-ticket ballot measures, along with a standard informal agreement to steer clear of referenda in non-election years, helped keep the issue on the shelf.
Rep. Chad Campbell, House Democratic leader, was quoted in the article.
“The voters have shown time and time again that they do not want the Legislature undermining their ability to run initiatives and protect their interests. And I don’t blame the voters for that. I would agree with them.”

That pretty much sums up my take on this.  The Republicans will posture all they want, and maybe do even more to cripple the state's fiscal situation in an attempt to scare the voters into rolling over for the anti-society agenda pushed by the GOP pooh-bahs. 

However, the voters haven't done so before now, and with the growing dissatisfaction with the cold-heartedness (cutting education to pay for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy) and corruption (Fiesta Bowl junkets, anyone?), they aren't likely to trust any ballot measure the legislature pushes targeting the voters' will.

Note:  right now, the Cap Times' piece isn't behind a paywall, but it soon could be.

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