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roberts: sos, arizona. you're about to lose a basic constitutional right.

attention: arizona voters. our leaders don’t have much faith in you.

none, actually.

it seems that by boosting the state’s minimum wage, you have done the unforgivable. you have interfered with their view (and their dark-money handlers’ view) of what’s best for arizona. so now they’re moving to shut you down.

by stomping all over your constitutional rights.

specifically, by making it all but impossible for you to exercise your right to go around the legislature and make laws yourself at the ballot box.

there are a number of bills aimed at making it more difficult for citizen initiatives to get on the ballot along with a few making it easier for legislators to overturn the will of the electorate.

think that's nbd? think again

house bill 2404 would make it all but impossible for

house bill 2404 would make it all but impossible for voters to make laws via initiative.

 (p o: christophe boisson, getty images/istockp o)

by far, the worst of the worst is house bill 2404, courtesy of rep. vince leach, r-tucson, and his pals over at the arizona chamber of commerce and industry.

leach’s bill would, among other things, bar petition circulators from being paid on a per-signature basis on any statewide initiative or referendum paign.

a couple of points worth noting here.

  1. the days of a handful of committed citizens going door to door to collect signatures to get a referendum or initiative onto the statewide ballot long ago went the way of the buggy whip. it is simply a fact that no initiative or referendum gets onto the ballot without hiring paid petition circulators. (see: diane douglas recall.) the hundreds of thousands of signatures needed and, in the case of a referendum, the limited time in which there is to collect them makes it impossible. period.
  2. petition circulators have long been paid by the signature. they usually carry several petitions at once in order to make it worth their while, at the same time keeping costs in reach for those seeking to put a matter before voters.
  3. there is only one reason to ban per-signature payment and force an initiative paign to pay minimum wage to petition gatherers: to kill the initiative and referendum process for all but the wealthiest and most influential interests.
  4. if you think it’s no big deal that petition gatherers would have to be paid minimum wage by every paign,then ask yourself this: why doesn’t this bill also bar candidates (read: legislators and governors and such) from paying by the signature when they are seeking to get on the ballot? why does this bill allow them to use the more cost-effective method of getting onto the ballot?

protect voters? more like kill our rights

leach told the ociated press he’s only trying to protect voters.

yeah, by eliminating their -- our -- constitutional rights.

rights put in place 105 years ago this month, at the insistence of the state’s founding fathers. even then, they knew we’d need a check on our leaders. even then, they were skeptical about our leaders’ ability to put the needs of the state above the needs of the state’s power brokers.

thus, arizona be e one of only 24 states where you, the citizen, has the power to make laws at the ballot box.

a power that now is threatened as perhaps never before.

i know that direct democracy can be a [email protected]%$. bad ideas can get onto the ballot. unions use it to get their proposals before voters. various special interests do, too. chambers could but, of course, they don’t need to. they have the legislature to do their bidding.

roberts: leaders ponder how to weasel out of minimum-wage hike

in this case, the chamber is pouting because prop. 206 p ed. instead of mounting an opposition paign last year to explain to voters why it was a bad idea, the chamber decided instead to go around voters and challenge it in court. and now, by ensuring that never again, can voters go against its interests.

and so comes hb 2404.

it all comes down to this: kill the petition gathering industry and you kill the possibility of initiatives or referendums reaching voters. kill our constitutional rights.

it’s insulting. it’s outrageous and worst of all?

given the players involved behind the scenes, it just might p .

this, arizona, is a big deal.

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