Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Constitutional provisions enacted by the voters through initiative or referendum can only be repealed by the voters through another initiative or referendum. At least, this is how it is supposed to work.
The ballot referendum proposed by the Arizona Legislature in 1979 to amend the Arizona Constitution to impose a "resign to run" law was approved by the voters at the 1980 general election. Article 22, Section 18 of the Arizona Constitution provides "Except during the final year of the term being served, no incumbent of a salaried elective office, whether holding by election or appointment, may offer himself for nomination or election to any salaried local, state or federal office."
The "resign to run" law was undermined a few years ago by an incorrectly decided court decision in the case of John Huppenthal, which has become known as the "Huppenthal Rule": candidates can file an exploratory committee and collect money and signatures before "officially" declaring their candidacy. Back in the day, the courts actually enforced the "resign to run" law, see Conrad Joyner v. Rose Mofford, 706 F.2d 1523 (1983). Somehow, the court decided to carve out an exception for Mr. Huppenthal.
Earlier this year, Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) sponsored HB2157, which effectively nullifies what little remained of the "resign to run" law through legislative legerdemain, without referral of the measure to the voters. Under his bill, an elected official will only be considered a candidate for another office after filing his or her nominating papers for that office. This is known as "the exception swallowing the rule of law."
The effective date of this bill is today. While Article 22, Section 18 remains in the Arizona Constitution, our lawless legislature has effectively nullified this constitutional "resign to run" law provision through legislative legerdemain, without any affirmative vote of the voters.
Another recent example was the incorrectly decided court decision that allowed the Arizona Legislature to ignore the voter mandate to fund health care in the Healthy Arizona citizens initiative, Prop. 204 (2000) and to cut the health care budget and freeze AHCCCS enrollment in 2010. The court took the easy way out, arguing the "political question doctrine" under separation of powers, claiming it could not force a co-equal branch of government to act -- despite the existence of the Voter Protection Act citizens initiative, Prop. 105 (1998), which required a three-fourths super-majority vote of each chamber to amend a citizens initiative and further required that it "further the purposes" of the approved initiative. Cutting the health care budget and freezing AHCCCS enrollment was in direct contravention of Prop. 204. The court's incorrect decision effectively eviscerated the Voter Protection Act, Prop. 105.
This case is going to serve as bad precedent in the recent case filed by Tea-Publicans in Arizona's lawless legislature challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission citizens initiative, Prop. 106 (2000). Our "Sun King" Tea-Publican legislators argue that they and they alone get to decide the boundaries of the election districts from which they will run, the will of "citizen legislators" --the voters -- be damned.
This case is also going to serve as bad precedent in the case challenging our Tea-Publican lawless legislature's attempt to effectively kill the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections citizens initiative, Prop. 200 (1998). Judge Brain of the Maricopa County Superior Court denied a request for a restraining order to block the new campaign finance limits from going into effect today, which is a back-door attempt to kill Citizens Clean Elections by putting participating candidates at a severe disadvantage, rather than a level playing field that the initiative sought to impose. Judge lets law boosting campaign contributions take effect.
Finally, there is the Goldwater Institute's case filed this week on behalf of 36 Tea-Publican legislators who voted against Governor Jan Brewer's Medicaid (AHCCCS) Restoration Plan. This time, however, these Tea-Publicans are arguing for strict compliance with Prop. 108 (1992), which requires a two-thirds super-majority vote of each chamber to "increase revenues" -- they assert the "hospital assessment fee" is a tax that did not receive the requisite two-thirds vote. And in pure chutzpa, they assert the Voter Protection Act citizens initiative, Prop. 105 (1998), which they have been doing their damnedest to nullify in every other case above.
In every case, the objective is to diminish the constitutional rights of "citizen legislators" (see HB 2305 for initiative, referendum and recall) and enhancing the power of elected representatives vis–à–vis the citizens whom they ostensibly serve. This is because the masters whom they serve are the über-rich elite plutocrats who fund their campaigns and give them lucrative lobbyist and "think tank" jobs when they leave office. The voters who do not contribute large sums of money to their campaigns have become irrelevant. They treat the voters with contempt.
But this is only true so long as you allow this situation to continue. The voters have a remedy -- you can kick these Tea-Publican tyrants out of office, and elect representatives who will respect the voters and do the will of the people. The power is in your hands.