Many Ballot Measures Before Voters In November

Election 2012

Election 2012

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Unofficially, voters will have nine measures to decide in November’s general election in addition to selecting the men and women they wish to represent them at the national, state and local levels and fill a variety of public service offices. Signatures on petitions to place several measures on the ballot are still being verified by the Arizona Secretary of State’s office.

Among the measures listed on the Secretary of State’s Web site are:

114, Crime Victim Protection from Liability for Damages: This measure protects victims of crimes from being sued for damages from the person who committed the crime against them.

115, The Judicial Department: This initiative expands the term of a Superior Court judge from four to eight years, if their term started after Jan. 1, 2013 and they sat on the bench in a county with a population of 250,000 or more, according to the latest census. It raised the required retirement age of judges from 70 to 75. It also modifies who will serve on the commissions appointed to select the persons to fill vacancies on in the trial and appellate courts.

116, Property Tax Exemptions: The initiative give a tax break to businesses on newly acquired equipment, according Ballotpedia.

117, Property Tax Assessed Valuation:If approved, the initiative would limit the value of property assessed for property tax purposes. The language to make the change, “For the purposes of taxes levied beginning in Tax year 2015, the value of real property and improvements, including mobile homes, used for all ad valorem taxes shall be the lesser of the full cash value of the property or an amount five percent greater than the value of property determined pursuant to this subsection for the prior year.”

118, Establishment of Permanent Funds: The initiative would modify the Arizona Constitution to allow the yearly distribution of funds raised from state land trust to 2.5 percent of the average market values of the fund from the previous five years. The fund pays for schools, colleges, prisons, etc.

119, State Trust Lands: Lets Legislature enact a process to exchange trust land if related to protecting military installations. Existing state law requires the state to maximize the financial return on any state land sold or exchanged.

120, State Sovereignty: Would declare state sovereignty over state natural resources based on the argument of “equal footing”. The language in the proposed ballot measure states, “The State of Arizona declares its sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within its boundaries except for territory established as Indian Reservations by the government of the United States; lands of the United States or lands over which jurisdiction has been ceded … to the United States…” In effect, the proposition would revoke the state’s agreement to the terms of its statehood in 1912, allowing the state legislature to assume effective control of state lands.

204, the Quality Education and Jobs Initiative: The citizen initiated measure to renew the state sales tax implemented in 2010 was rejected by Secretary of State Ken Bennett on the grounds that two versions of the initiative were submitted to his office. The supporters of the measure successfully challenged that ruling in the courts. The proposal renews a 2010 voter-approved one-cent sales tax to provide funding for education, scholarships for college students and reinvestment in vocational education and new jobs.

The Arizona Federal Action Rejection Amendment is an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure would allow state voters to reject federal action by way of veto referendum. The measure was filed by the group Checks and Balances In Government.

The Arizona “Open Government Act” Initiative is also a constitutional amendment. The measure would implement a top-two style open primary system. In a top-two open primary, candidates for a government position run on the same primary ballot regardless of party affiliation. All registered voters can cast their vote for the candidate of their choice. The two candidates with the most votes are then placed on the November general election ballot, regardless of party affiliation. Former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson introduced the proposal.

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