Arizona Supreme Court leaves Proposition 306 on Tuesday's ballot

By Karen Kidd | Nov 5, 2018

PHOENIX — Proposition 306, the "Clean Election Account Uses and Commission Rulemaking Measure," will remain on Tuesday's ballot in Arizona, following a decision handed down by that state Supreme Court.

In a six-page decision filed Nov. 1, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a Maricopa County decision that there is nothing illegal about the proposition. The high court's ruling in effect allows the proposition to remain on the ballot Tuesday. 

The high court affirmed the lower court judge's decision to dismiss the complaint filed by Louis Hoffman, the attorney who drafted the Citizens Clean Election Act in 1998, and Citizens Clean Election Commission member Amy Chan.

Hoffman and Chan have argued that Proposition 306 should not be on the ballot because it violates the state's single subject rule. 

Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice W. Scott Bales  

The high court disagreed, saying that the propositions' two provisions "are reasonably related to one general subject" and therefore satisfy the single subject rule.

Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice W. Scott Bales wrote the high court's decision, and was joined by Vice Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinel and Justices John Pelander, Ann Timmer, Clint Bolick, Andrew Gould and John Lopez IV.

If Proposition 306 should pass, it would preclude candidates running for office from donating to political parties or tax-exempt 501(a) organizations from their public financing accounts. 

The proposition also would require the state's Regulatory Review Council, appointed by the governor, to approve proposals by the officially bipartisan Citizens Clean Election Commission.

In July, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Teresa A. Sanders handed down a detailed ruling that, among other things, left Proposition 306 on this week's ballot. Sanders said in her decision that the proposition, as referred to the ballot by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature, was written so that voters who wanted to support one provision would effectively have to vote for the other, regardless of their support for the other provision.

However, Sanders referred to a previous Arizona Supreme Court ruling and said there is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about the proposition under the state's single subject rule.

"If the framers of the Arizona Constitution had intended that statutory amendments submitted by either initiative or referendum be subjected to a separate amendment restriction, they could have done so," Sanders wrote in her widely reported decision. "They did not."

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