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HB2600: The AZ Supreme Court said legislators acted unconstitutionally and they voided a measure designed to give the governor more choices when selecting judges. In 1974 voters passed the Merit Selection act which put the number at three. Lawmakers tried to get around this in 2012 and put it on the ballot and it was defeated. So they tried again this year. Watch for it to come up again in 2014. The LWVAZ supported this lawsuit against the legislators.
Medicaid Expansion: This was passed by a bipartisan group of legislators. Then the United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives group took out petitions to put it on the 2014 ballot. They did not have enough signatures. So 36 Republican lawmakers are asking a judge to invalidate the plan. They filed a lawsuit against Gov. Jan Brewer and contends the levy on hospitals is a tax. The Goldwater Institute is representing the legislators. The LWVAZ supports the expansion and is working to help citizens get signed up for the coverage.
Gay-marriage referendum: This was pulled before the deadline. It is felt that this is too soon and should wait until 2016. The LWVAZ will work with the LGBT at that time.
Clean Elections Commission: The commission went to court as the new law (H2593) scraps the current $14,688 limit on what legislative candidates can take from political action committees. Individuals were giving $400 and now can give $4000.The court refused to block the higher cap on donations from taking effect. This could keep candidates from using the Clean Elections funds. On Oct. 15, the AZ Court of Appeals accepted special action on jurisdiction and granting relief, with opinion to follow. It also ordered Ken Bennett, in capacity of SOS office, from enforcing or implementing HB2593 pending further order of this court.
Campaign Finance: The US Supreme Court heard arguments Oct. 8 on whether to give wealthy Americans even more clout in Congress by lifting the legal limit on how much they can give to candidates and their parties. They seemed to be split along the usual ideological lines.
SB1070 Update: Thr 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 5th ruled AZ cannot enforce yet another provision of this bill aimed at illegal immigration. The ruling affirms a lower-court ruling barring the state from enforcing the provision which would punish those who knowingly transport or harbor someone in this country illegally.
Arizona Ballots: SoS Ken Bennett is directing election officials to separate their federal election ballots from state and local races to keep those who cannot prove citizenship from voting in the latter. This would pertain to those citizens who have registered with the federal form. We will wait to see if this will be taken to court.
Independent Redistricting Commission: On Oct. 19, the commission asked the federal court to dismiss what they contend is a power grab by state lawmakers. Attorney Mary O'Grady said that the leaders of the Legislature are "concerned more with the loss of power than the will of the people who elect its members."