Debating Proposition 129: Should initiatives cover a single subject?

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Proposition 129 would require an initiative to cover only a single subject. Mike Bailey of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Pinny Sheoran, president of the Arizona League of Women Voters, joined us to debate whether or not this proposition would help Arizona.

Why is Prop 129 a good thing for Arizona?

“Single subject rule is a general principle of legislation. It applies across the board. It applies to our legislature and it applies to the constitutional amendments we might want to make,” Bailey said.

In summary, the rule means that if a law is passed, there can be no hidden topics or amendments that are not related to the issue being discussed. Recently, there has been a lot of special interest coming in and an increased effort to hide true motives, which is why Bailey believes that single subject rule is a great way to combat untruthful legislation.

Why is Prop 129 a bad thing for Arizona?

“Let’s start by saying that the constitution says that we reserve the right for the citizens to enact laws independent of the legislature,” Sheoran said. She does not think it applies to everyone.

“In fact, the courts have understood that the citizens have a much more difficult path to bring forward legislation,” Sheoran said.

Legislatures are able to bring forth laws much easier than citizens, accoring to Sheoran. Because of this, those against Prop 129 say that the legislature needs to be kept far away from the citizens’ rights to make laws independent of the legislature.

Sheoran argues that if a ballot measure confuses a citizen, they will simply not vote for it.

Proposition 129 is on the ballot as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. Voting “yes” on this prop supports the single subject rule, and voting “no” on this prop allows ballot measures to continue illustrating more than one issue.

Mike Bailey, Arizona Chamber of Commerce; Pinny Sheoran, President of the Arizona League of Women Voters

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