Not just candidates: A cheatsheet to the 2022 ballot measures
Here's everything you need to know to fill out the bottom of your ballot.
Housekeeping note: We won’t be publishing the Daily Agenda on Monday. We’ll be back in your inboxes Tuesday morning.
Arizona voters will face a lengthy ballot this November, with 10 statewide ballot questions (not including the ones your city or town might have).
You’ll weigh in on tuition costs for undocumented Arizonans, medical debt curtailment, election ID laws, the role of dark money in politics and the future ballot measures themselves.
Only two of the ballot measures came from the citizens gathering signatures to refer an idea. The others were referred to the ballot by state lawmakers.
There are a few routes to get a question on the ballot:
Citizens initiative: Regular people (or, more often, groups with lots of money to hire signature gatherers) circulate petitions to get an idea onto the ballot. This year, it requires about 238,000 valid signatures for a statutory change, and about 356,000 to change the state Constitution.
Legislative referral: Lawmakers can also send a question to the ballot by passing a resolution. (Unlike a regular bill, the governor can’t sign or veto it.) Sometimes, they ask voters to change state law at the ballot because it’s politically safer to “let the voters decide” an issue for them. Sometimes, lawmakers want to change or repeal laws that voters approved at the ballot, so they have to put it up for a vote from the people. And if lawmakers want to change the state Constitution, they have to ask us, the voters.
Referendum: There are no referendums on the ballot this November1, but this option allows citizens to try to veto a new law they don’t agree with. They must collect about 119,000 valid signatures in a short timeframe after the law passes, which then allows voters to vote up or down on that law.
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PROP 128: Voter protection act; court determinations
Summary: Prop 128 is a constitutional amendment that would allow lawmakers to bypass the Voter Protection Act to amend or repeal any ballot measure with any illegal or unconstitutional language. (Currently, the Voter Protection Act bars lawmakers from repealing voter-approved laws, or from amending them, unless lawmakers can muster a three-fourths majority in both chambers and the changes “further the intent” of the voter-approved law.)
Argument for it: The VPA prevents lawmakers from changing voter-approved laws — even when they have unintended consequences or violate the state or U.S. constitutions. It’s not allowing lawmakers to reject the will of the people, but rather, it asks voters let la repeal unconstitutional laws.
Who’s backing it: Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Center for Arizona Policy, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona
Argument against it: One single sentence or word in an initiative might be found unconstitutional, and the courts currently have a way to deal with that — they nullify just the unconstitutional part and leave the rest. But if Prop 128 passes, lawmakers could then throw out the entire law, even though most of it is perfectly constitutional, which would shift power from the voters to the Legislature.
Who’s opposing it: League of Women Voters of Arizona, One Arizona, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), Save our Schools Arizona, Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter
PROP 129: Initiatives; single subject; title
Summary: Prop 129 would limit initiatives to a single subject and require each provision be represented in the title. While lawmakers are barred from loading multiple subjects into a single bill, citizens writing initiatives are not, the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled.
Arguments for it: Prop 129 would allow voters to support individual policies that they like, and oppose ideas they don’t like — rather than having to vote yes or no on several ideas at once. If single-subject the rule is good enough for lawmakers, it’s good enough for initiatives.
Who’s backing it: Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Center for Arizona Policy Action
Arguments against it: It would eliminate initiative backers’ ability to combine forces for good-governance initiatives that touch on several aspects of the law. It would give the courts yet another technicality to use to ignore the will of the people. And the same rules shouldn’t apply to initiatives as lawmakers because passing a bill is a lawmaker’s job, but it costs citizens a lot of time and money to pass their own laws via initiative.
Who’s opposing it: Arizona Education Association, One Arizona, League of Women Voters of Arizona
PROP 130: Constitutional property tax exemptions
Summary: Prop 130 would amend the state Constitution to allow lawmakers to provide a property tax cut for veterans with disabilities. The Arizona Constitution already offers property tax breaks for certain groups, including widows and veterans. But the veterans portion was stuck down in a 1980s court case. Prop 130 would take all that language out of the state Constitution and expressly allow lawmakers to offer tax breaks to those groups via legislation. The actual tax cut would be provided in a companion bill, SB1095 that only goes into effect if Prop 130 passes. It was brought up by county assessors and had bipartisan support at the Capitol.
Who’s backing it: County assessors, Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA), Ryan Boyd
Who’s opposing it: No organized opposition.
PROP 131: Lieutenant governor; joint ticket
Summary: Prop 131 would amend the state Constitution to create the position of lieutenant governor. Candidates would run as a team with gubernatorial candidates, like the vice president. If the governor resigned or died, the lieutenant governor would ascend to the Governor’s Office — instead of the secretary of state, who can be from a different party than the governor.2 The lieutenant governor would be the director of the Department of Administration, per a companion bill, SB1255. The idea earned bipartisan support at the Capitol.
Arguments for it: Arizona has a long history of governors resigning, being impeached or otherwise leaving office during their term, and say the change would promote continuity of governance. Arizona is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t have a lieutenant governor. And overseeing the Department of Administration is a better training ground for the governor’s job of running state government than the Secretary of State’ Office.
Who’s backing it: League of Women Voters of Arizona; Arizona Republican Party
Arguments against it: Voters rejected a similar measure in 2010, though that plan would not have allowed the governor to pick their lieutenant, and they instead would have run separately rather than on a ticket.
Who’s opposing it: No organized opposition
PROP 132: Initiatives; supermajority vote; requirement
Summary: Prop 132 would amend the state Constitution to require a 60% vote to increase taxes at the ballot.
Arguments for it: Proponents argue it protects taxpayers from runaway spending by requiring the same kind of supermajority vote at the ballot as lawmakers need at the Capitol to raise taxes, and that the higher threshold will make it harder for out-of-state special interests to raise taxes on Arizona citizens.
Who’s for it: Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, The Goldwater Institute, Gov. Doug Ducey, Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA)
Arguments against it: Lawmakers already need a two-thirds majority vote to pass any increases on taxes or to roll back tax credits and exemptions, and that supermajority requirement has hindered lawmakers’ ability to pass even common-sense tax increases. The same rule isn’t applied to tax cuts. They note the original bill highlights supporters' real intent, as it would have applied that supermajority requirement to all initiatives.
Who’s against it: League of Women Voters of Arizona, Arizona Center for Economic Progress, Arizona Education Association
PROP 209: Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act (citizens initiative)
Summary: The measure makes multiple changes to state statutes on wage garnishment debt collection. It limits the interest rate on medical debt to 3%. It would protect more equity in homes, vehicles, household goods and bank accounts from being taken by creditors. It also limits the amount that can be garnished from your wages to pay off debts.
Arguments for it: Medical debt, in particular, causes many Arizonans to fall into bankruptcy. The standards for wage garnishment and asset collection are outdated. People shouldn’t lose their homes or vehicles because of predatory debt.
Who’s backing it: Healthcare Rising Arizona (which receives support from the SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West), Arizona Public Health Association, Arizona Students’ Association, Phoenix Workers Alliance, Neighbors Forward AZ, Democrats of Casa Grande
Arguments against it: The measure is supported by out-of-state special interests. It would have far-reaching effects and could cause creditors to charge more to make up for lost costs. It would be bad for business.
Who’s opposing it: Goldwater Institute, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Tucson Metro Chamber, Greater Phoenix Chamber, Arizona Bankers Association
PROP 211: Voters’ Right to Know Act (citizens initiative)
Summary: Prop 211 would change state law to require political groups and people spending more than $50,000 to influence the outcome of an election to disclose the original donor of contributions over $5,000. It would also require real-time reporting of significant campaign spending, and allow the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission to enforce the provisions of Prop 211. Allows civil penalties for violations.
Arguments for it: “Dark money” is a corrupting influence on our democratic system and Arizona voters deserve to know who is funding political campaigns. Prop 211 will bring transparency and accountability to campaign messaging because voters will know who is paying for those ads. And it’ll stop regulated utility companies like Arizona Public Service (APS) from secretly funding the campaigns of their own regulators, as has happened in past elections.
Who’s backing it: League of Women Voters of Arizona, former Phoenix mayors Paul Johnson and Terry Goddard
Arguments against it: Disclosing the names of political donors will open them up to threats and harassment from opponents.
Who’s opposing it: Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Center for Arizona Policy Action
PROP 308: Tuition; post-secondary education
Summary: Prop 308 would change state law to allow all Arizona students, regardless of immigration status, to be eligible for financial aid and in-state tuition at Arizona universities and community colleges. Students must have graduated from an Arizona high school and been enrolled for two years. The measure earned bipartisan support at the Capitol. It would ask voters to repeal Prop 300 from 2006, which passed overwhelmingly at the time and barred non-citizens from receiving in-state tuition.
Arguments for it: Arizona students should be able to attend Arizona universities, regardless of immigration status. Undocumented students and Dreamers are a vital part of our economy. It’s good for business and it's the right thing to do.
Who’s backing it: Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Arizona Education Association, Aliento Education Fund, Valley Interfaith Project, Stand for Children, Local First Arizona
Arguments against it: It offers in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants.
Who’s opposing it: Former Senate President Russell Pearce, the Arizona Republican Party, RidersUSA
PROP 309: Voter identification; affidavit; procedure
Summary: Prop 309 would change state statutes to require voters who vote in person to show a photo ID, instead of multiple pieces of certain mail, like bank statements. For voters without a photo ID, the state would issue a free non-operating license for voting purposes. If receive a ballot by mail, you would be required to write your birthdate, ID number and signature on a “concealed early ballot affidavit” before mailing it back or dropping it off at a polling place.
Arguments for it: Voter ID will restore trust to elections and make it harder to cheat. Showing an ID is a normal part of daily life for all manner of other activities.
Who’s backing it: Heritage Action for America, Arizonans for Voter ID, Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Arizona Republican Party, Goldwater Institute, Arizona Women of Action, Election Transparency Initiative, America First Policy Institute
Arguments against it: It will impede people’s ability to vote by adding burdens and creating confusion. It will invade people’s privacy.
Who’s opposing it: Prescott Indivisible, League of Women Voters of Arizona, One Arizona, Defend Arizona Rights, Opportunity Arizona, Arizona Education Association, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), Chispa Arizona, Our Voice Our Vote Arizona, Mi Familia Vota
PROP 310: Fire districts; funding; sales tax increase
Summary: Prop 310 would increase sales taxes by a tenth of a penny on the dollar to fund rural fire districts.
Arguments for it: Fire districts serve 1.5 million Arizonans and are responsible for not only fighting fires, but providing emergency medical services in car crashes along major parts of Arizona’s highway system. Fire districts are strapped for manpower, equipment and resources, and 911 calls often take upwards of 30 minutes for a response.
Who’s backing it: Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, Arizona Fire Chiefs Association, rural fire districts
Arguments against it: It’s a 20-year tax increase on all Arizonans to bail out rural fire districts, which already have access to a local tax base.
Who’s opposing it: Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Arizona Republican Party
There is an active referendum campaign against a bill to create a universal school voucher system in Arizona, but if that campaign is successful in gathering enough signatures, the question will be on the 2024 ballot.
In 2009, Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano resigned to join then-President Barack Obama’s administration, and Secretary of State Jan Brewer ascended to governor. Interestingly, Brewer ran similar legislation to create a lieutenant governor in 1994 (which voters also rejected). Had it passed, it could have prevented her from becoming governor 15 years later.