It’s also important to know that some city election dates differ. For dates and candidate information for those elections, visit your city’s website.
In the News
A large working group has kicked off its efforts to build a drought contingency plan for Arizona and identify how to prevent water shortages in Lake Mead. They plan to draft a legislative proposal to bring to the legislature next year.
A legislator announced he will introduce legislation to require a report on the number of veteran suicides in Arizona each year – it is not yet clear how his proposal will alter similar information that is already collected by the state. The Arizona Department of Corrections appealed a contempt of court ruling associated with the agency’s ongoing efforts to meet a 2014 settlement on inmate health care. The Arizona Corporation Commission got an interim director, and the Arizona Board of Regents offered their interim director a long-term role with the Board.
A legislator’s lead foot inspired an executive order to limit legislative immunity from criminal speeding and other behaviors that are a breach of peace. The outcry against legislators’ speeding also led to calls for and against changes to the Arizona Constitution’s clause on legislative immunity from arrest.
Citizen Initiatives Inspire Legal Challenges…
Last month marked an important deadline for legal challenges to voter signatures on citizen initiatives, and – as expected – opponents of the four initiatives filed lawsuits. There are many claims of fraudulent signatures this year; courts will determine whether the initiatives have the required number of valid signatures and examine how election officials determine validity.
Among the lawsuits filed was a challenge from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce against the “Invest in Education” initiative. Supporters say the increase to income taxes for those in the highest personal income tax bracket will generate $690 million a year for Arizona’s K-12 education programs. The Chamber, which opposes the income tax rate increase, asserts that the petitions should be thrown out because they did not accurately describe the impact on income tax rates – a claim that the initiative’s supporters dispute.
The disagreement centers on whether the initiative language allows the state to continue to adjust personal income tax brackets to inflation, or if it requires those brackets to revert back and remain at 2014 levels – a step that would push Arizonans into higher tax brackets, and therefore higher tax rates. It is a debate that is certain to continue as the legal process – and the election cycle – progresses.
…and Political Disputes
The disagreement on the income tax proposal’s impact also unfolded at the legislature last week, when the Legislative Council committee convened to craft the summaries that will officially describe each initiative to voters. The hearing lasted hours and was often contentious. The final analysis of the “Invest in Education” initiative adopted by the committee was supported by Republicans but opposed by Democrats, who believe the language contained political bias in the way it summarizes the income tax increase. The initiative’s supporters will likely take legal action to try to change the legislature’s analysis before the summary of the measure goes to voters.
AHCCCS Seeks Input on Prevention
AHCCCS wants to hear how the state can improve its work to prevent substance abuse. If you work or volunteer on these issues, click here to participate in the agency’s Statewide Substance Abuse Prevention Needs Assessment.
On the Bright Side
Barrow Neurological Institute’s cutting-edge work to help individuals who have severe brain injuries caused by physical abuse made national news, and Literacy Connects received a $50,000 grant for their reading and writing programs for children and adults.