Arizona justices recommend initiative process overhaul

By Chris Rizo | Nov 19, 2008

Andrew Hurwitz

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Legal Newsline)-Arizona needs to overhaul the way ballot measures are handled, the state Supreme Court said in ruling this week.

The recommendation was made in an opinion related to a transportation improvement initiative didn't make the ballot known as the TIME initiative.

The plan would have increased the state sales tax by 1 percent, generating more than $42 billion over 30 years, for transportation and infrastructure improvements.

Secretary of State Jan Brewer disqualified the proposal because she said it lacked the number of valid signatures to qualify for the statewide ballot.

The TIME Coalition sued her and the Maricopa County recorder. A county judge agreed with Brewer, setting the stage for the Supreme Court case.

In its ruling Tuesday, the high court did not overturn the lower court's ruling.

Writing for the state's high court, Justice Andrew Hurwitz said state lawmakers ought to make a "thorough legislative re-examination" of the initiative process.

"It is, of course, not within our constitutional assignment to suggest specific legislative solutions to this problem," he wrote. "And, if no change is made in the qualification process, the judiciary will continue to decide election cases will all appropriate celebrity."

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